Yesterday, I returned to my alma mater, Lehigh University, to speak to a class of Marketing students who are about to embark on their careers. As I was preparing my presentation, I thought about the advice I wish I would’ve gotten back then. So, I left them with these three insights from my own career:
1. There’s no such thing as “the perfect job”. When I graduated college, I was on a mission to find the perfect job. Time after time, I was disappointed. That’s because there are great jobs, there are crummy jobs and there are jobs in between. Searching for the perfect job is the like searching for the perfect person. Everybody has flaws but some people are a better match than others. The same is true of jobs. They all have pros and cons; the key is finding one where the pros drastically outweigh the cons. So rather than searching for the ever-elusive “perfect” job, try to find one that excites you and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. And don’t settle until you do.
2. Every job, whether you like it or not, can teach you something valuable. Over the years, I’ve had some great jobs and I’ve had some awful jobs, but I learned something valuable from each. Whether it was observing how different businesses work, networking with co-workers and customers, or simply learning what NOT to do, I took something away from each experience. If you find yourself in a job you don’t like, think about where you want to go and try to work on getting the skills and experiences that will get you closer to your vision.
3. Your career is a constant work-in-progress. Don’t be frustrated if things don’t turn out the way you planned. Careers are like clouds, they’re always moving and changing. You’ll reach goals and then you’ll set new ones. And sometimes your goals will change completely. Keep learning, growing and looking for opportunities. As they say, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
What advice do you wish someone would’ve given you?