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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > What I tell every new careerbuilder – Podcast

What I tell every new careerbuilder – Podcast

April 29th, 2011

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Many of the readers and listeners of Career Opportunities have been working for a long time. They have had several jobs and maybe even a few careers. It seems to take a few years before most people start to consider their work and how to build the career they deserve. That said, I am always excited when I meet someone at the beginning of their career that, for whatever reason, has the foresight to see that their career and their life are intimately intertwined. For these people, today’s column focuses on the things I would love to say to every person just starting out in their career. Take these lessons to heart and your career may become much easier.

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Transcripts of Live Speaking Engagements Now Available

You can now purchase complete text transcripts of some of my longer, live speaking engagements directly from the Career Opportunities web site.

Click the Products link at the top of the page for a complete list.

A second item is now available. A 4,600 word transcript from my talk, Career Compass: Finding Your Career North from CareerCampSCV.


No one looks after you better than you

When we are young, we are used to being looked after by those around us. Our parents guide and protect us. School limits our options to keep us on track. Our first jobs are little more than rote repetitions of the same, limited task.

It is important to remember, though, that no one cares about us as much as we care about ourselves. No one could, or should, be making the big decisions in our lives. Our friends and family often unknowingly have their own interest in directing us one way or another.

We can listen to advice, sure, but we need to make the final decisions for ourselves. If we turn over our lives and careers to someone else, they will make those decisions that are best for them, not necessarily for you. If you abdicate control over your career, there are others that will gladly tell you what to do. It isn’t out of evilness or spite, but rather because each individual can only make the best decisions for themselves.

Long term, not short term

We live today in a world filled with short term thinking. What will happen, tomorrow, this afternoon, an hour from now? You must remember, though, that your career is a long haul not a short hop. The work you are doing today is almost assuredly NOT the work you will be doing next week or next month. Job stability, for all its benefits and faults, is a long, lost dream. The only stability in your career today is that which you impose yourself. You need to be constantly planning for the future. You will, after all, eventually arrive there. You want to be prepared.

As you navigate through your career, think about how each job fits into the progression that leads to your future. Are you taking a job simply to have a job? Is this slowing, or reversing, your progress towards your future goals?  Are you doing what is in your best interest or fighting against it? Don’t let short term setbacks, family issues or bad decisions get in the way of your future career. Like building blocks, each job builds on those that came before. If you are constantly inserting bad blocks into the tower, you can’t be surprised when it comes tumbling down.

Do everything in your power to be financially secure

Many of the social safety nets we have grown-up with are in danger of collapsing, or being dismantled. Not since the 1920’s have we had to be so focused on our own finances and building our financial security. From the beginning of your career you need to build your own safety nets so that you don’t end up in a career-ending, life threatening crisis.

The first concern is actually the easiest. Start saving today! I know. Saving 10% of a $100 paycheck might seem worthless, or even impossible, but every cent you save buys you a tiny bit of career freedom. When you have money saved, you are protected from making bad job or career decisions simply because you need money.  There will come a time, perhaps several times, when you need your, for lack of a better term — Screw You Money. We can all be led astray by bad jobs, or jobs that turn bad. Panic can cause us to make some of the worst decisions of our lives. Being able to comfortably detach yourself from a job when needed limits the damage and allows you to move on without panic.

Being financially secure also allows you to address what I consider the largest issue facing workers today — lack of affordable health care. For the foreseeable future, the burden of health care is going to fall more and more on the individual. Company provided health care is often difficult to find and increasingly expensive. Know you options to carry you over between company or group health care plans, prepare for those times when you may not be covered directly. Having these plans in place will dramatically ease the stress  involved with moving from one job to another.

If you put some thought into each piece of my advice, you will be well on the way to building the career you deserve from the very start. It is never too early to start, but you will find that there can be major issues if you don’t start soon enough. There is really no excuse to not starting today. Don’t be afraid to address these issues. Don’t think you can ignore them because you are just starting out. The beginning of any endeavour is always a critical time. Don’t miss the opportunity to start out on the right foot.


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