Early in Career Toolkit

I’ve been very lucky to receive a great amount of advice over the last few years from people in all walks of life. Some of it was good, some was just plain ridiculous and some made me throw my eyes up to heaven and think ‘Yeah right, sure man, I will totally do that. Mm hmm’.

But that’s the thing. Advice comes from many different directions and I truly find it amazing how you react differently to the advice based on the circumstance or the person who gives it to you. I know personally that some of the best advice I’ve received was in fact from my mother but for some reason, I didn’t listen to her the first few hundred times she told me. I did however listen to my mentor in my first year of work after college and think he was the most wise man in the world.

What was that advice you may ask? The main lesson to learn was that I, and I alone, was in charge of my future and if I sit around and wait for life to happen, I would always be disappointed with what came next. It just took a different circumstance and an older pair of ears on my part to appreciate that lesson.

I’ve recently begun to notice that I’ve been asked for advice quite a lot and the same number of topics have begun to come up time and time again:

How did you handle a situation with your manager where you knew you were in the wrong role and wanted to try something new?

Can you give me some advice on how to change my career path entirely in this company and not burn any bridges?

What was your biggest failure to date and what did you learn from it?

As I was answering these questions, I began to realize that there are many others facing the same situations I did and maybe, just maybe, I could help them navigate and come out stronger than I had. I wanted to be able to learn from them and their experiences, what advice of mine had they taken and what had they ignored. And that’s where this comes in.

I decided that I wanted to create a blog dedicated to all the advice I have received over the years – a toolkit for those early in career (or maybe even beyond that) on how to deal with the typical and the more unique situations they may face as they start work and struggle to become established members of the team. This is by no means a complete step by step guide to follow that will sort out all of your life’s problems – it is a tool to help you think of different ways to approach a situation, allowing you to mix and match based on what suits your needs most.

My hope for this toolkit is to let you know that you are not alone and that any situation you are in, no matter how bad, will improve but that power rests with you. You can’t ignore it and hope it goes away. You can’t count down the days until it’s over. You need to put on your grown-up pants and face the big scary dragon head on, using the sword you are about to build yourself.

You may be wondering what is the advice I give people most often? I think it’s pretty obvious if you’ve read this far:

You don’t have to decide what will be forever, you just have to decide what comes next and work on it every day to get there. You are in the driving seat now, so start acting like it.