Managing Your Career Like a Business
Pundits predict that those entering the business world will switch careers as many as six times in their lifetimes (maybe even more); that’s "careers," not jobs.
This is comparable to a business, that over it's lifetime will change direction and strategy, probably more than six times. In a similar sense, you can see your own career as a business, and in turn, reap the rewards.
Here are some tips for running your career like a business:
1. Remain independent.
It’s easy to get so dependent on a company that you mistake your fear of unemployment with loyalty or a career path. These days, a career path within a single company is more like a financial death march. Many companies are particularly adroit at repeatedly swindling you out of your pay and benefits while convincing you that you’ll never have it this good again. They’re also repeatedly telling you that “everyone’s doing it.”
So, don’t worry too much about who gets the credit. People worry too much about who gets credit for a good idea. In my experience you'll never will be sorry for making your boss look good; and nobody will believe that your boss suddenly got smarter the day you started working for him/her. Along those same lines, people get fixated on blame; but who’s at fault isn't as important as how you contribute to fixing things and making sure it doesn't happen again
2. Brand yourself.
Know what you stand for and make what you stand for known. A person who stands for nothing has nothing to offer. Personal branding will make or break your career, so you'd better spend some time reflecting on exactly what you want the world to perceive you as, and recognising that when it comes to branding, everything matters.
3. Be flexible in your beliefs and continuously learn.
Politicians who change their minds are reviled as flip-floppers, but isn’t changing your mind (when you're confronted with irrefutable proof that what you believe is wrong) a good thing? Society dangerously reveres those who are staunch and unyielding in their beliefs. It’s wise to listen to a variety of opinions and learn from as many people as you can, but never mistake stubbornness for conviction or conviction for wisdom.
Knowledge is power, and the best way to get knowledge is still reading. Read, but read with hard eyes and a skeptical heart. Seek out things with which you disagree and dismantle the arguments they make only after you have truly heard them; as you do this, keep an open mind. Understand that your deepest held values of today may embarrass and shame you tomorrow; it's a natural part of growth.
5. Trust your judgment.
Balancing between trusting what you know is right and listening to advice from people with more experience can be precarious. You have to trust your gut while at the same time considering that people have legitimate concerns that they are raising. Don’t fret. Copernicus, Einstein and Jobs all had their detractors, so if people think you don’t know what you’re doing is misguided, you’re in good company.
So, do you plan on treating your career as a business?