Achieving career success is not an exact process. Nevertheless, there are common sense rules that winners follow to achieve their career goals.
Here are six of those real-world career guidelines that are critical to developing and executing a successful career path.
1. Job Tip: Do not hire anyone you can’t fire, unless you are under the harshest kind of pressure you can resist.
When you hire a new employee, hopes are high that the relationship will work out to everyone’s benefit, even if it’s a shotgun wedding. However, the wise manager will take care to avoid a position where he can’t dismiss that person if things don’t work out.
This means resisting situations where employment is based on any reason other than the needs of the company and the particular worth and “fit” of the person being recruited.
When possible run for cover when you are being pressured by a friend to hire his friend. Especially try to duck the bullet when the “do hire” message comes on a personal basis from the boss.
In the real world there may be no escaping. If that is the case, protect yourself from the start. Have a clear understanding with all concerned of the basis on which you are acting. Insist that everyone understands that so long as you are held responsible for the results of your department you have the absolute right to hire and fire. You should insist on being let off the hook if that right is denied.
Be sure to document the performance of the offspring of the shotgun wedding. You need facts, whether he or she is a raging success or a total disaster.
2. Job Tip: The only reality in any organization is individual perceptions of the information that is available. Therefore, “reality” is what those in power say it is. Learn to live with it.
3. Job Tip: The very attributes that make for a successful career – independence of thought, ambition, assertiveness – go against the culture of organizations.
4. Job Tip: The organization will never be a perfect universe.
Organizations are no better or worse than the people who inhabit them. The organization will do things of which you do not approve; it will make mistakes.
So, don’t enter the organization with a missionary zeal to purify the structure, its purposes and those who make it up. Focus your attention on making your best efforts to move yourself toward your goals and those of the organization.
If, after time, you find that you cannot achieve these objectives, you have two choices. Compromise your standards or leave. That is the way it is.
5. Job Tip: Don’t expect your comrades to support you to the bitter end if you are in serious conflict with the organization.
If you and your associates are in a knock-down-drag-out squabble with the organization, be very cautious if your associates say, “We’ll hold your coat, Charlie; you go fight ’em.” Or the corollary to that, “If you get fired, Charlie, we will leave with you.”
That all sounds fine in the heat of the moment. But if it comes to actual conflict, most people shy away and begin thinking more about job security and house payments than they do loyalty to the cause you once shared.
6. Job Tip: Most people are waiting for something to happen. For one reason or another, the majority of people spend most of their careers waiting for the spark to light. They want someone to come along and tell them what to do. They want to wake up some morning motivated to achieve success.
On the other hand, a few people are impatient. They are chomping at the bit to shape their world. They win big or lose big in the process, but they get to choose the game and set the stakes. Meanwhile, those who wait for career success are dancing to someone else’s music.
In the final analysis career success is a matter of individual choice.