With a bit of creative thinking, your daily grind can be more than just a paycheck.
Navigating the working world can be difficult on your own. Here is some helpful job advice your younger self would have definitely appreciated along the way.
1. Enjoy what you do.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Americans spend an average of 8.5 hours each weekday at work. Chances are, you'll spend at least a third of your adult life on the job. If you don't have fun while you're doing it, then you're just choosing not to put the icing on the cake, so to speak.
Do you work in a kitchen? Revel in the artistry and learn some new techniques. Stuck in an office? Develop new skills—you never know, you may actually like putting together presentations!
Photo by Rene Asmussen
2. Look for ways to move up.
You are your own best advocate. If you see yourself staying long-term with your employer, make it clear to the powers that be that you would be interested in moving up when the opportunity arises.
Don't forget to look outside of your organization, too. Network whenever you can and meet other people in your industry. Who knows who will help you climb that ladder?
3. Know when to move on.
This one can be hard to spot. When you hit a patch where bad days outnumber your good days at work, it's probably time to start looking for something else. Be honest with your supervisor and let them know so you're not leaving them in a lurch. There may be something that can be done to move you to a job that suits you better. You'll never know unless you ask.
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4. Don't burn any bridges.
Taking the high road isn't easy, but it will benefit you in the long run. Before you storm out, send an inappropriate message, or just blow up in general, take some time to consider your next move. If you need someone as a reference later, the last thing you want to do is leave a bad impression.
Find a way to make a graceful exit in a bad situation. Even if you're resigning, there's a professional way to do it, including giving plenty of notice. It's a very small world, and you never know when someone is going to reappear.
5. Document, document, document.
At some point in your work life, you'll need to remember important details about something that's not quite right. Call it covering your butt if you want, but don't underestimate the power of an email when something bad goes down. Even if you just send yourself a brief note, it still counts as documentation.
The same applies for good things, too. Keeping notes about your personal achievements in a running document will make it easier for you to recall them for your annual review. Who doesn't want to look like a superstar?
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6. Create and maintain boundaries.
You want to be friendly with your coworkers, but know when to draw the line. There's a reason why people tell you not to poop where you eat. The last thing you want to do is add the complication of a work friendship (or worse, a romance) to your career momentum.
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What do you think of this career advice? Would you add anything to this list to help propel your younger self? Let us know in the comments.