I don’t blame anyone who has become frustrated and disillusioned with the working world. It is a huge disappointment to grow up and realize that most of what we’ve been taught about how to be successful is bad advice.
We were taught “Just work hard at whatever job you get, and things will work out.” That’s false. Working hard at your job does not get you much. When you work hard at a job where the boss doesn’t value your efforts, all your hard work gets you is taken for granted. Just working hard by itself will exhaust you and shorten your lifespan without any benefits to you.
There has to be more to success than merely working hard, or millions of people around the world would be a lot more successful than they are!
If you are at work right now, think about the investment of time and energy you are making. Imagine that you only went home to sleep for four hours a night, and gave up all the rest of your personal time to get more work done. Imagine that you practically lived at your desk and worked your tail off for the next five years. What would that extraordinary effort get you? If you’re working for a fixed salary or hourly wage the way most people are, you won’t see economic benefits from pouring your energy into your job. Your boss may be grateful to you for all your extra effort, but he or she is not going to give you a pay raise every month just because you’re putting in extra hours. You’re not going to get paid more just because you have great ideas. None of those investments on your part translate into tangible career success. You could donate every waking hour to your job and still get a one percent pay bump at the end of the year, or get laid off when the company realizes that you’ve solved all of their biggest problems and they don’t need you anymore.
We can see that there’s more to career success than just hard work — so what’s the magic ingredient?
The magic ingredient to success is not the good fortune to come from a wealthy family, and it isn’t a great education, either, as plenty of underemployed but highly-educated people can attest. The magic ingredient for career success and satisfaction is self-determination. When you are the captain of the ship, you get to decide which way to sail. That’s the only way to be successful in your career. Career self-determination doesn’t require you to start your own business. My friend Mike has been insanely successful in his career working for well-known employers. What makes Mike successful is that he decides what he wants to do next rather than letting the job ads or inertia decide for him. When one job has given Mike all it’s got to give, he moves on. He doesn’t really care what his boss thinks about his performance. He cares what impact he’s making at work — impact that he can talk about later, with other employers, when it’s time to move on!
That is really all that matters, because his boss’s only influence on Mike is the influence the boss holds while Mike is actually working for that boss, and Mike never plans on staying at any organization for more than five years. Mike is self-employed in his own mind, although he works for other people. He loves his career, has plenty of time off, gets paid very well and best of all, is healthy and happy. Mike is not a suck-up or someone who needs to get external approval to feel good about himself. He simply knows what kinds of Business Pain he solves for employers, and that knowledge makes him very valuable as well as content in his own skin. Mike did not come from a well-to-do family or attend a top-tier college. He follows these ten rules for career success, and you can do the same thing.
Life is temporary. Every job is temporary, too.
You get to decide how to spend every year, every month and every minute of your precious time. You get to decide when to let other people steer your ship and when to grab the wheel.
This moment is the perfect time to take back control of your career and start running your working life as a business — what are you waiting for?