To the Millennials: 5 Don'ts for a Successful Career
Attributes of successful people such as intelligence, "bias towards action", good work ethic, etc. are widely celebrated here at the Fool and other media outlets. But you don't see too many articles on why people fail in life. The failures live in the shadows ignored and are occasionally scoffed at. As someone who has suffered through a less than stellar career myself I am offering the following list of don'ts based on more than 15 years of experience in an eclectic and roller coaster of a career. My professional career has been more volatile than any stock market investment I have ever had. Let this serve as a warning to the highly celebrated millenial generation who is starting their career in earning money to spend at the corporations we invest in.
1.) Don't bash fraternities. Fraternities are important. Join them. Way back in the 20th century when I graduated college in 1998 I was asked what I thought about fraternities in a job interview. I said they were stupid and cited Revenge of the Nerds. The interview didn't last long after that.
2.) Don't hold your head down. Be confident. Still don't entirely understand that one but whatever you do don't let that human resources person see you sweat in an interview or after you get hired for that matter BECAUSE THEY WILL GET RID OF YOU or make your life miserable until you quit if you don't "Exude confidence". Confidence has been my biggest stumbling block in my career.
3.) Don't hate sports in front of your boss. Pick a sport and follow it. Bosses LOVE people who can banter about sports. I've seen people begin stellar careers just because of that fact alone while I busted hind end and sat still in my career. Personally I hate sports and can't pretend to like it but its my career to ruin.
4.) Don't say I can do it myself. That killed me in more than a few job interviews. Figure out the meaning of being a team player. Bosses LOVE people who understand the nature of teamwork. I never could figure that out and is still a hindrance to me because I am not a good team player. It's one of the reasons I freelance for the Fool because I don't have to deal with back stabbing teammates.
5) Don't pester bosses or coworkers about stupid questions. Bosses begin to wonder what they are paying you for if you're in their office asking questions. Asking coworkers questions prompts them to smell blood and move in for the kill. This is contrary to what you may read or hear but TRUST ME THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT. Do everything in your power to find the answer by looking at online company resources, books, and everything imaginable before asking anyone a question. I struggled with this in the coal industry.
Well folks there you have it. If you want to succeed: DON'T follow in my footsteps and heed the advice outlined above.