Career Values

I was recently asked by a friend to meet with his son to discuss my career path as his son was restarting his college education after being away on a church mission for a couple of years. Agreeing to the meeting caused me to reflect on what I might share with him beyond simply outlining my work history. I ended up making a list; the following are some activities and values that have had an impact on my career and proven more important than the specific path:

Relationships. Make lots of them.

· Relationships have been key to every stop on my path

· They should include unnatural alignment, don’t be insular in relationship building

· Establish and develop them when not needed

· Make sure they are reciprocal — don’t be a taker if you are not a giver

· Be proactive and purposeful in building and developing relationships; they will not organicall yhappen the way you need them to

Participate in industry associations/organizations and in your community

· See above, this is one of the best ways to establish those relationships

· Some of the most important opportunities in my career can be directly traced to my participation in industry and community organizations. I would have had much less success without this participation

· Participate actively, even if it is uncomfortable and you do not want to at first

Keep your nose clean

· Integrity, no matter what

· Never cheat, not even a little

· Expect honesty and call people out when it is not delivered, even if it costs you

· Play the long game, behave in ways you will be proud of in 10 years, regardless of what that means for tomorrow

Put in the time

· Don’t be satisfied that you have done enough

· Work hard, always do more than is expected

· Don’t jump for the next better thing too soon; under 30 stay at least three years, over 30 at least five

Be very confident

· Don’t be arrogant

Don’t be too fixed in your expected path

· You can do very well in many different fields, and you can do many different things. When I started school, I did not even know trade shows existed — I would be a lawyer if I had stayed my expected course

Treat decisions, especially financial, as if you owned the company, regardless of your role

· Don’t propose it if you would not do it with your money

· Even small things, “turn off the lights when not in use.”

Err on the side of others

· Employers, co-workers, subordinates, customers, vendors, etc.

· Even if it costs you

· But don’t be a victim

Be your own person

· While respecting others

· Know who you are, and who you work for

Learn everything

· Make time for learning

· Be curious

· Become interesting

Very few things are catastrophic, don’t overreact

· Mistakes happen; expect them, learn from them, recover quickly

· Don’t worry about what you cannot fix

· Be optimistic, while remaining realistic

· Calm down, it will work out

· Stress fixes nothing