Over the last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to speak to a college classroom, be interviewed by a young man who just graduated from my Alma mater and meet in person a couple Twitter friends who have just graduated. What they all had in common was they wanted me to share any thoughts and wisdom I might have as they begin their professional lives.
To be honest, I actually felt a little like an impostor. Yes, I am coming up on the big 4-0, but have I really figured anything out? I realized a long time ago the day you stop learning is the day you start dying. Could that be considered some wisdom? No? Fine, be that way.
This weekend, as I laid in bed lying next to my snoring wife and dog. The dog was the one who was snoring. I began really thinking about what have I learned during the 39 years of my life and the 15+ years I have been in the workforce? What pearls of wisdom could I share that would actually be helpful? My brain started trucking at this point so I got up, headed to the computer and here is what I came up with.
When I am passionate about what I am doing; I do it better, I do it smarter and I LOVE doing it no matter how long it takes. When I accomplish something and I did a good job, I feel great! All the money in the world cannot make you feel that way. Don’t ever stop searching for what will drive you and make you feel alive. You might need to do other things during your search to pay the bills, but never stop searching for the job that you were meant to do.
Find the time to read and write. Consume great writing and learn how to write well yourself. It does not matter what kind of job you want, if you write well, you will have a leg up on so many people. I have seen first hand my writing inefficiencies and I try to improve on them everyday.
One of my first real jobs after school was with Grey Interactive in New York City. I was hired as an HTML grunt. At the time, Grey’s Executive Producer saw something in me and took me under her wing. She was not only an incredibly nice and caring person, she was so smart and talented. I learned so much from her and I have no doubt I would not of had the opportunities I have had in my career without her help. I try to pay that forward by doing the same thing with people I work with and meet today.
One of the first things I realized when people management was added to my responsibilities was something very simple, but it seems to be forgotten a great deal. The only way I am going to be successful in my job is if the people who report to me are successful. One of my top responsibilities has always been to do everything I can to ensure the people on my team can do their job the best they can. I don’t care what kind of business you have, the single most important asset of your business are the employees, the human capital. Many leaders tend to forget that. I try very hard to recognize team members after they have done a job well done. I am not doing my job if my team does not feel like I appreciate and care about them, which I do.