What would you tell your 16 year old self about work?

#TheWeeklyQuestion asked the Leapers community what advice they’d impart to their younger self. Here are a few of the choice morsels.

We asked this question of our leapers.co community last week, in our slack channel, on twitter and across Linkedin. We had an overwhelming set of responses, which you can check out here and here, but I wanted to try and summarise into six key points:

“Work or a job is what we need to do to earn an income and a living. There’s nothing wrong with having a good honest job.”

There’s absolutely no sense in pretending that work isn’t going to be a key part of your life, so get used to that right now. Plus, an income helps you buy things, like food, clothes, but also experiences, so generally, working is a good thing(tm), and be sensible with savings, as you won’t always be working, and one day you’ll have to stop work too.

“Find the thing that you love and give it your best shot.”

Without doubt, a large proportion of folk wanted to make sure their younger self valued the importance of finding something you love doing. Perhaps passion isn’t something we were taught at school, or our adult selves recognise that you’re going to spend a great deal of your day at work, so anything but something you love is going to be hard.

To balance that out though, don’t worry if you don’t know what that is.

“Everyone says “do what you love” but the advice I’d give myself is “it’s ok not to know.” Just pick something that holds your attention and go for it.”

I don’t know a single 16 year old who is 100% sure of what they want to do be doing in later life. I struggle to know what I want to do on a Friday lunchtime, yet alone ten years down the line. This, for me, is one of the best pieces of advice I think one can give — its okay not to know, and you don’t have to have a plan, take as long as you need to work it out.

And whilst you’re working it out — put in the time to learn, and be curious.

“Go through every Curiosity Door. Don’t wait, but be ready to be the least knowledgeable person on the other side. And that’s OK.”

You’ll always be learning, you’ll always meet people who know more than you, and there will always be something you don’t know. That is not just work, but life in general, but embrace the curiosity, and you’ll be welcomed on the other side of the door.

“Don’t take things too seriously. You define you. Take the knocks, learn and see the bigger picture. The times you failed only made you stronger in success!”

A sense of perspective is useful, do everything with a sense of perspective, and a sense of humour.

“Don’t choose a good company to work for. Choose a great team to work with”

Its about the company, not the company. people make work and work culture. Find people with good values, good ethic, and good empathy, the rest will fall into place.

And three points which really stood out for me:

- “What you believe is a limitation will harden into one.”
- “Don’t compare yourself to others. Life is not a competition.”
- “If someone tells you that they know what they are doing, they’re lying”

The best thing about advice, of course… is that it can and frequently should be ignored.


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