The best career advice I got came like a kick to my nuts

Those around and close to me know that I’m deeply passionate and even obsessed about personal and professional development. I listen to podcasts when I’m driving, read my books on my Kindle app when commuting, and regularly catch up with other professionals and game changers out there like CEOs, millionaires, athletes, business owners, professionals, etc.

From these encounters I received a ton of career advice and insights that just won’t stop. But I love it!

Some of the most popular advice I’ve heard include:

  • Follow your passions.
  • Arrive at your interview location at least 5-10 minutes early. And don’t forget to plan your journey too.
  • Develop your personal brand.
  • Work on your communication skills.
  • Get out there. Network. Meet new people.
  • Get out of your freakin comfort zone.
  • Don’t do it just for the money.
  • Take risks. Face your fears.

And the list goes on forever.

Some of these advice I preach myself.

Even though some are cliched, it doesn’t mean that we should take them lightly, for they are so easily neglected and forgotten.

But the one piece of advice that stood out for me from the whole laundry list is:

The marketplace doesn’t give a sh*t/crap about your problems.

Let that sink in for a while.

Truth is, we all have issues and problems. You have your set of struggles. I have my list of challenges. And they have their own issues to deal with. Nobody is perfect and spared from adversity in life.

When you apply for a job, you might be concerned about the career prospects and opportunities, growth plan, company culture, how you might be perceived, what they might think or say about you, the remuneration, the location and travel time, etc.

You might really need the job because you want something different and are sick and tired of being underemployed (from working in that F&B job for the past 3 years). You might be struggling financially because you need to pay off your debt and bills. And you struggle with what your friends might think of you.

However, just like mentioned, the marketplace doesn’t give a shittake about your problems.

So what the heck should we do?

And what does the marketplace care about? If it actually cares about something?

THE MARKETPLACE cares about the value you bring.

This is what the marketplace cares about.

Back to the job applicant’s example.

The employer doesn’t really care about the candidate’s issues, struggles and problems. Who in the right mind would take the time, effort and resources to arrange for an interview only to hear the candidate talk about his problems? It doesn’t make sense!

The interviewer is there to see whether the candidate has what it takes to bring solutions andĀ get the job done as well as if he/she is a great fit for the company.

So if you’re the candidate, shift your focus away from yourself (including your fears, issues and problems) towards the value you can bring – your skills, experience, passion, knowledge, connections, insights, energy, etc – things that you can bring to the table.

Don’t ask what the company can do for you. Ask what you can do for the company.

Don’t ask what you can get from your customers. Ask what value you can give to them.

And the amazing thing is that this concept can be appliedĀ to many other facets of our lives.

  • Stop blaming, complaining and whining. Start finding ways on how you can improve the situation.
  • Stop obsessing about how scared and nervous you are when you are about to go on stage to deliver a presentation. Focus on what you are going to impart into the audience and what they can take away from their attendance with you.
  • Stop emphasizing to your boss the challenges and obstacles present in your project. Start coming up with solutions and a way to move forward despite those challenges.

Remember, the more value you can bring, the more returns, influence and opportunities you would get as a result.

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