Whether you have been working your entire life or you are just beginning your path, reading and listening to career advice is always helpful. In this article, we share a complete guide of tips you need to incorporate to help you get prepared for any work situation you might encounter.
Along my senior architect path, I have been through a handful of ups and downs which have shaped me into who I am today. Now as a project manager, I have gathered the top pieces of career advice no one has ever told you before to help you continue growing and make your life much easier. Let’s get started!
Communication is the key to succeed
I receive around 100 emails a day, and as you can imagine, it is impossible to review all of them with high detail and answer them with long prose, so I started to categorize emails according to their importance and the urgency of the answer needed.
If it is a production issue or something that requires perhaps a good amount of writing, I try calling the person directly. In another case, if the subject requires a back and forth with the people involved, I try to create a chat.
Finally, use emails only when you need to have a conversation that will span over days or when you need to keep track of what was discussed that can be used as evidence later. Do keep in mind that those emails need to be short and concise.
In addition, you always need to know the audience of the email. For example, it is totally different how you write an email to a fellow developer versus how you write to a product support manager or the decision makers at your organization.
This might be interesting: Lessons learned in Software: from Junior Dev to Architecture Manager
Challenge the decision from the top
From time to time, people will have a problem with the decisions coming from management. The important thing I have learned with experience is that it is always good to gain a perspective of why those decisions were made, considering short-, medium-, or long-term goals and issues.
Therefore, it is good to approach them, ask questions, and propose solutions to issues you found but always have an open mind and treat everyone with respect as you want to be treated.
Not everyone has the same priorities
In a company, everyone has a particular role that defines their job. Some will have more responsibilities, and some will be working on only technical pieces or financial ones.
Each of them will try to save their own job. For example, a technical person will try to make it as perfect as possible and will use the latest technologies but will not look at the cost of it. The manager, on the other hand, may not care about the technological pieces, as everything will be about the process, reporting the progress, and meeting customer expectations, among other factors.
The key piece here is to identify what motivates each person and what their needs are so you can adapt your speech to answer their requests.
Your work is not your school
In school, you usually follow the institutional structure, where you spend some years contributing somehow and learning new subjects or topics. There is a career path established with defined goals and exams, as well as people dedicated to help you achieve those.
On the other hand, a business model merely exists to generate a profit — usually money. So your role in a company is to help achieve that with training, courses, or similar activities, but everything is directed to increase that profit.
Of course that is fine, because otherwise, there would be no company. My advice is to spend time throughout your life training yourself, such as reading sci-fi books, gardening, doing home repairs, and anything that helps give you an open mind. If you want to grow in your career, just like anything in life, you need to put your personal time into it; don’t expect the company to do it for you or give you a customized career path designed for you and you alone.
Do not miss this article: Starting out in the IT world as a three-course meal
Your manager is not your mentor or teacher
In school, even at university, everything is prepared to make you feel comfortable with the process of learning. Hard work is not criticized, and methods are defined so you can follow them. Opinions and criticism are not usually expected.
On the contrary, in business, criticism is everywhere. Each time you make a decision, someone is always asking reasons why. It will be necessary to justify your choice in a mature way.
Also, as in school, in business there are processes, methodologies, and policies that need to be followed. Nonetheless, you have to act quickly to get good results or solve some kind of problem. As above, you will be judged by your decision, especially by your manager.
Your coworkers will not always be your friends
This may seem obvious. Of course, you can make friends at work, and in fact, I have made a lot of them. However, not everyone will be your friend, and that is fine, too. As in any group, some will try to take advantage of you, some will treat you as a scapegoat, and others will just ignore you.
It is important to identify who you can trust, who you work with effectively, and who is toxic for you.
Do not stay in a job just for the pay
In my opinion, you need to stick with a job you like and feel some kind of pleasure doing. Work where you are treated as you deserve and not just like a number, where your personal space is respected and you feel welcome. In addition, think about the company as your second home, because it is where you spend a good amount of your awake time.
Why the long-term plans? Don’t move slowly
Procrastination is like a disease that slowly infects everyone. So, every time you make plans, think: What is stopping me from doing this sooner? Shorten how long it takes to achieve your big goals, ask for help, get advice, try, fail. However, don’t make 5-year plans or even 3-year plans, because the world moves faster than you think.
Aging gives experience
Listen carefully to what older people say. Try to understand their point of view, but do not take anything as an absolute truth. It will help you understand the history, codes, rules, the biases, and how you fit in them.
Experience gives some people the ability to take shortcuts that you will not understand. Ask them questions. Do not be ashamed of coming across as incompetent or ignorant. People generally love to talk about what they love or are good at. You will never be blamed for asking questions, even if they are superficial ones.
Read as well: How to become a technology expert in software development
Sacrifices are a must to build your career
Your career is something you build yourself, and no mentor, leader, or teacher will do it for you. Therefore, you may need to skip seeing some friends, family time, going out, or even reading a book related to your work during your leisure time.
In addition, do not forget that you may need to spend some of your own money to take some extra classes and pursue some internships. It is not easy to choose fun over work, but during some moments in life, it is worth the effort.
Your job is not your life purpose
I read the following phrase in an article: “A job that you enjoy can contribute to giving your life meaning, but it is not the only thing in life you can draw meaning and inspiration from”. And I will say no more, just find what makes you happy and grow from there.
Ultimate career advice — have fun, you only get one chance at life!
Do I need to explain it? ☺ Just go and try to get the most out of each experience!
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