Best Career Advice I Ever Got

The list below was once much longer, and contained items from some really great people and mentors, but as I edited (and edited, and edited) the list to fundamentals, I ended up with just 4 items.

4 isn’t enough, right?

So I put the list away for a while, and came back to it yesterday. And I remember these, it turns out, because they are variations from a Tom Peters book I read more than a decade ago.

And I still use them all today. So maybe 4 is the right number after all.

1. Become valuable outside your own small area (in particular, to your company’s customers, instead of to your boss). That’s real job security and the path to advancement.

2. Think about what your resume says and work to make it better. You aren’t going to be in your current company forever. At resume-writing time, you don’t want to look back and realize you did the same job for x years, and it looks unimpressive on paper. So write your resume once a year or so, and decide what to focus on next year.

3. Ignore the performance review process. See #1 above.

4. You work for yourself, your employers are simply your biggest (or only) customers.