Obviously I haven’t always considered myself business savvy or whatever the f*ck you want to call it. In fact, I didn’t truly feel successful and content with my career until the last couple of years. Like most 20 somethings, there were several years of floating around and having zero clue what I actually wanted to do. There were random jobs, there were jobs to pay the bills, and there were a LOT of lessons learned along the way.
Now that I’m in a position where I truly feel like I have a lot of shit figured out regarding business (Paul should get credit here too), I can look back and see what I got right (knew I wanted to be in fashion and do something creative) and what I did wrong – which you’ll read about below. I still have a ton to learn, obviously, but I’m happy to report I’ve learned from the following mistakes.
I am VERY passionate about not settling. I’ve even written an entire blog post it as it pertains to relationships, etc., and the same is true for a job. I’ve met endless people who complain all day about their job and then don’t do anything to change it. I know a lot of people fall into a job they get after college and stay because it’s comfortable, even if they’re miserable. Don’t be that person.
Yes, I get that having a degree in a certain industry seems like you need to settle into that industry, but that’s not true. Gain experience in the field you want to move to or take serious time figuring out what other type of job might make you happier. Or turn your passion into a career. Because imagine waking up at 60 and realizing you just wasted your working life on a job you hated. Umm no thanks!
+ Not admitting mistakes
One thing I see in the younger generation and even people 20 years my senior is a lack of owning up to mistakes. This is not only a HUGE turnoff in a person in general, but it’s very frustrating to work alongside. If you mess up, admit your mistake and learn from it. People will respect you for it.
+ Not taking credit
On the flip-side, I’ve also seen a lot of people (women especially, myself included) not speak up when someone is stealing credit for their work. If you worked your ass off on a project and a coworker is taking credit, maturely speak up. You can talk to your boss after or speak up in the moment, whatever feels more professional.
+ Moving too quickly
This is something I need to work on but I’m getting better. When you’re writing an email to colleagues, proofread before you send. When you want to say something in a meeting, think about it for a sec before word vomiting. When you’re multi-tasking through projects, slow down.
+ Not taking the time to automate and create systems
I finally improved this over the last year or two and I think it’s one of the reasons I feel so content in my businesses. Even if you don’t own your own company, creating systems that improve workflow is crucial. I wrote more about it in general here but think about tasks you can automate. Batch tasks, delegate, create canned email responses, download Grammarly, clean out your inbox daily, etc. It saves brainpower and time.
+ Waiting for the perfect moment
Believe me when I say there will never be some perfect moment to quit your job, to start a business, to switch careers, etc. Life will always be happening and something will always feel too hard. Just get started.
+ Not becoming irreplaceable
If you want to impress your boss or move up in your company, simply asking for a raise or a promotion is probably not going to cut it. Instead, become irreplaceable. OK well obviously that’s a dramatic word but the point is to be someone who the company needs and then use it as leverage.
Be one step ahead of your boss in terms of ideas or what you know they like seeing. Go above and beyond the simple task and find ways to deliver more. Improve systems. Find ways to make the company more money or creative ways to gain more clients – or whatever makes sense with your career. Then, when you do go to ask for that raise or promotion, they won’t be able to live without you. Literally.
+ Getting stuck on salary
One final note…let’s talk money. I remember graduating from college and only focusing on the salary/income amount when looking at jobs, and honestly, that’s a huge mistake. Obviously you need to be able to support yourself and all that, but there is so much more to a job than salary. Don’t forget things like the people you work with, your commute, time off, stability, flexibility, food situation, dress code etc, as that all adds up.
What’s something you’ve done wrong in your career and then changed?