Pursuing and building a career is one of the main aims we set ourselves at University. Starting a course and living off rent for the sake of knowledge is commendable, but very rare. Let’s keep this real and say people must ‘work to eat’ and this is not a post for rich heirs and heiresses, ok?
Sorry rich kids no offence: we’re not in Chelsea nor in the upper-east-side, we’re building Silicon Tuscany, trying to reimagine a “Digital Renaissance” and be the firestarter for a technology ecosystem in a place mostly known for hills, olive oil, and wine.
In our everything-but-humble opinion, the ‘work to eat’ culture is rather ancient and outdated tho. There are many reasons to follow the way up the ladder: ambition, personal fulfilment, economic satisfaction… all good things, but life does not always hold our desires for us.
Sometimes we just need to face the music when situations and contexts make decisions on our behalf. So what can we do to help destiny unfold and grow a career? You were expecting a rhetorical question, right? You know, we always like to hide our next move and surprise you with the unexpected, BUT really – did you read the post’s title?
We’ve got 20 (yes, twenty) tips for growing your career but since we’re evil and want you to come back, we’re going to share just half of them. More will come in the future!
1) 💔 Do not follow your passion
Wait, wait, wait. We said what we said, but we have a reason for it. Everybody, all the time, tells you to “follow your passion”. Even Confucio said “find a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life” – terrible advice given to young people. As the well-known prof. Galloway said once, “if someone tells you to follow your passion, it means they’re already rich”.
Your job is something you’re good at. And you’ve got to spend thousands of hours and apply the grit, perseverance, sacrifice and willingness to break through hard things to become great at it. All the rest will follow: being great in something will make you passionate about whatever it is. Leave your passions for the weekend!
2) ⛵️ Know your goal
We’re in the mood for quotes, you must have realised. Seneca said “There’s no wind in the right direction for the sailor that does not know the destination” – in other words, you need to know your goal – what do you want to achieve? Who do you want to be? What do you want to do when you grow up?
Setting an attainable goal is the first step you should take, and try to get there little by little.
3) 👷♀️ Reverse engineer the high road
Reverse engineering is a valuable thing, especially when it comes to your future. Visualise it in your mind, then reverse engineer how to get there. It’s quite tough to know what’s next in your career: it’s easier to decide where you want to land in 10 years’ time and unfold the steps to get there.
Again, try to set a reachable goal. Starting from today, becoming the next prime minister in 10 years is not impossible, but quite unlikely to happen. Keep it real, superhero!
4) 🔮 Find out the Yourself of the future
It’s very hard to know what you want to be when you grow up. Think long and hard about it by following these approaches:
🎨 Visualisation First
Land in the land of the abstract, become estranged from the surrounding environment and ask yourself: “Where do I see myself in 10 years?”. Nope, this is not one of the worn and hackneyed interview questions, even if it works similarly.
This time try and start with broader questions. Do you see a family? Do you see yourself working as an individual or in a team? Are you running your own business or are you part of another? In what industry? Are you living in a big city or in a small town? In which country? Now that you have the bigger picture, add details.
Do you see it?
🎫 Separation from reality
Well, future superstar, we’re not pushing you to daydream just for the fun of it. Everybody does, it’s true, but we’re adding a bit to leverage this common practice.
Imagine you won 100M dollars at the lottery: what would you do? Yes, we know, skip the first 3-4 points: who wouldn’t take off some whim and fulfil some materialistic, fun desires? It’s totally ok to spoil yourself, but most likely your answers afterwards will shed some light on who you really are – hence, what really matters to you.
🍫 Find the chocolate
Let’s assume you love Tiramisù (come on, who does not?), Brownies and Death By Chocolate.
We heard you say ‘you’ve not reinvented the wheel’, it’s just an example, mastermind!
Okay let’s focus here for a minute, is there any common denominator? Sure there is: chocolate! Easy.
Now, when it comes to your future, there probably are many options in front of you that might be of your interest: focus on what the options you love have in common, and find your cup of tea. Well, we mean, the chocolate. Find the chocolate.
5) 💪🏻 Double down on your strengths
And also ignore your weaknesses. Do we really need to explain that?
6) 🤔 Let self-awareness be your superpower
Knowing yourself is a key success factor for your happiness. Carefully listen to yourself and try to consider your future value.
Where you want to go
Assess your personal goals and values to set the boundaries for your career planning. You will need to think hard about the relative importance of money, location, time management, ambition, and so on and set non-negotiable goals for your career.
What you need to get there
Assess the skills you need to succeed in your career. A good way might be to look to role models and try to incorporate those skills into yourself without changing who you are – easy to say, far more difficult to put into practice, true. Who said it was easy?
What makes you special
You better know what you can do better than anyone else – or at least, than your direct competitors. Yourself is your focus: there’s always something you’re particularly good at. What is that? Find it and master the heck out of it.
What’s your energy balance
We don’t want to burn the candle at both ends, do we? Best is to know what gives you energy and what takes energy from you, and balance these forces in an effective and efficient way. You’re not a robot, remember?
7) 👯 Stop comparing yourself to others
Guess who’s the only one responsible for your career growth? Yourself.
On the other hand, each second you invest looking at others’ careers is a distraction of your time and energy from what really matters: your career.
We’re all different from one another: each of us is a special human being with specific strengths and weaknesses who should not be compared to others. Why don’t you try comparing your current self against your older self, instead? It might be a useful way to check your improvements.
8) 💨 Time will tell, give it time
Impatience is a pitfall and ruins everything. You better be micro-impatient taking that extra training today, right now; and be macro-patient, like drafting a 10 years plan to become CMO at that such-and-such company.
9) 👎 Understand that every job sucks (at some point)
We can delude ourselves with fairytales and tell ourselves that we’re surrounded by wonderful, marvellous, hassle-free jobs, open to us all.
Like life in general, work is tough. We don’t mean to scare you and we do agree it shouldn’t be, but this is often the case. Challenges and obstacles are out there and we’ll have to face them at some point. Just like life, the unpleasant and hard part of the job will come sooner or later. Accepting it and being ready to handle it is the best way to make it out alive.
10) Pick human beings, not jobs
The team you will work with should be the key element that drives your final decision in getting a job. One interesting thing is that it’s proved that we are the average of the 6 people we are closer to.
So, especially as a spring chicken at the fresh start of your career, you might want to work with remarkable people – since they will shape your future career growth. We know it’s not that easy to have a clear picture in advance, yet still there’s a lot you can do to know who you will be working with and your manager (of course).
We said 10 tips, did we?
Yes, we did. Literally, here down below this draft in the making, there’s already a list of 10 more, but as said before… you’ve got to stay tuned to get them all.
You can’t imagine how good it feels to hold the power!