Like the rest of the world, I’ve had great bosses, good bosses, and horrible bosses, but I can quite honestly say, that every single boss I’ve had has taught me a valuable life lesson.
As I look at how far I’ve come in my career, thus far, I can safely say that these five pieces of advice (and a lot of passion for digital marketing) have got me where I am today.
You Can’t Depend on a Company to Set Your Career Path, Take Control of it Yourself
When I first got this advice, I kind of brushed it off. And then, when I was 24, the company I worked for did some lay-offs and I lost my job. I’d been there for three years and I was counting on them to help me rise through the ranks, but in the end a company is just a ship, and you’re a sailor. If the sink is shipping, the captain has no problem throwing sailors overboard to keep it afloat.
There were days when there was shared loyalty between companies and employees, but as we all know, those days are pretty much gone. Don’t wait for your boss to promote you, ask for it. Don’t like what you’re doing? Find your passion. It took me eight years and five jobs to find a company and a job that I loved.
Remember: you have to look out for you.
Dance With the Music
I’m the first to admit it: I’m stubborn. I’ve even told people that want me to rush to get something done “Your lack of preparation does not constitute an emergency on my part.” And I was wrong.
If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’ve talked about this one before, but to me, it’s probably the most powerful and life-changing one for me. Dancing with the music is accepting people for who they are, flaws and all. And you have to accept that not everyone is going to have their….stuff…together all the time. You just gotta roll with it, help clean up the mess and keep smiling.
Trust me, people will notice.
Talk to Me Like a Two Year Old
Do you give your boss too many details? Well stop. One manager used to tell me to talk to him/her like a two year old, meaning “Just give me the salient points, the big picture, and keep it moving.” Noted and done.
People tend to over-communicate to show all of the hard work they’ve been doing. But results speak for themselves. There’s something to be said for being succinct.
Don’t Look to Your Boss for Solutions, Give Them Options
I was very, very guilty of this up until about a year ago. If I didn’t know how to approach a situation, I’d go to my boss and say, “What should I do?”
Well, one day when I was speaking with that boss, he/she said the best advice that he/she had ever received was to come to your manager with options and recommendations. The options give them the tools to make a decision, the recommendation gives you a chance to show leadership.
Ever since then, I’ve made that my standard procedure and it’s always met with gratitude by managers.
Don’t Drink the Koolaid
Now, this piece of advice wasn’t given to me by a manager, but it’s worth mentioning.
You notice how when you start a job at a new company, there are so many things that are done a certain way because that’s how they’ve always done it, but as an outsider it makes complete and utter nonsense? Then, as you work there longer, that utter nonsense becomes more and more normal?
That’s called drinking the Koolaid, and you should avoid it at all costs.
When you drink the Koolaid, you’re just accepting the status quo and aren’t able to look at your brand/company with fresh eyes; creativity and innovation quickly disappear. Stay that “outsider” as long as you can and you’ll quickly rise to the top.
Always Use Bullet Points in Long Emails
Riveting, I know. But that was the advice I was given the first week, of my very first job in corporate America by my very first boss after he/she received an annoyingly long, blocky email. And to this day, I think it was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
Why? People only half-read most things anyway, and when you break an email up into key takeaways, it makes skimming and comprehending a heck of a lot easier. And it’s more visually appealing.
So whether I’m writing a personal email or creating an email marketing message, I always remember bullets! And again, this is something that every boss I’ve worked for since has complimented me on. So simple, yet so impactful!
So what say you? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a boss?