Many of us sometimes don’t stop and think about the important people in our lives or the leaders that led us to become a better and hardworking person. I often think about the mentors that have helped me succeed in the past positions I’ve acquired in the past years. They all often gave me a strong and sometimes simple word of advice that overturned to motivation, passion, and willpower. In this world of the rat race, I admit I am not perfect, in fact none of us are, and you know why that’s okay? Because we are all humans. We will sometimes not understand the flow of things at first, especially as you enter the workforce for the first time (or are new to the exposure of internships and other work positions). I learned that these mentors in my life have guided me because they caught onto things that I can put into use for as long as I am in the work industry and when I will one day be a boss.
Here are the 7 important pieces of advice to always keep in mind that my bosses taught me:
Know your ‘why’.
When you work for a company and are often asked to do your work, duties that you proceed to do on a daily, sometimes, you start to question why you’re doing your work. My boss emphasized to all of his employees that we need to apply a purpose to our work and it doesn’t need to be towards anything like achieving a goal in the company. Our purpose can be anything that makes us want to work, for example, my co-workers who are parents want to be able to support their children and give them a better future. Maybe, my purpose right now is wanting to gain exposure to having work experience before I go further into it with a career. Knowing your ‘why’ should also be applied in all areas of your life.
2. Don’t say you’re not sure- always think you are very good at what you do.
Before I got hired, I was interviewed by my boss. During the interview, he asked me what I thought about my writing. I responded by saying, “I’m good… I guess.” That pause in my response gave it a dead giveaway. In response, he said “Just good? You should say you’re great!” and made me believe I should always act more confident in any situation.
3. It’s good to be comfortable but don’t be too comfortable.
One time, my team and I did not provide the results he expected from us, which was due to us being too comfortable (he is really able to read through others!). It’s easy to fall into that place of comfort, but it’s not good to be too comfortable because you can really shy away from making progress and showing that. It’s always better to try to put your best foot forward and spread out your time. Instead of working on multiple things at once per day, there should always be a goal achieved at the end of the work shift.
4. Always communicate your problems.
My boss emphasized that communication is a big part of working in teams. If we feel like there is an issue that can occur between employees and a misunderstanding is about to unravel, communicating the issue ahead can stop it before it becomes tougher to fix or overcome.
5. Get a second opinion.
Both my bosses instilled that besides looking over your own work, asking for second opinions after working on a project from other members of the team or outside the team can successfully carry out the project. It will help you see the areas you could’ve missed or improve on, or maybe it looks fine from the get-go. It never hurts to have a second pair of eyes look over the project before it goes out.
6. Measure your goals.
By measuring your goals, you are thinking of steps of how to get there. Be able to identify what it is you’re really trying to achieve from your work and keep track of the steps you need to follow to make this goal attainable. My bosses have always made sure I got my duties done through prior strategic planning which provided approval-worthy results. Instead of just doing something to get it done and over with, it’s a lot safer to make sure you can take more time on something that will set a goal.
7. Remember, one day you will be a boss to others.
Your work will have an impact among others in the organization. I’m not saying that the work you are currently doing isn’t already making an impact, but you will one day be the one that will be in control of all decisions. It’s important that you can think like your clients or customers, your workers, and act like an owner at the same time. Practicing this mindset early on will have you prepared. You can behave like the owner by always being on top of your work priorities which will directly tie into the future of the organization.
My bosses, in my previous and current jobs, all taught me it goes further than just work. Gaining work experience is one of the most positive accomplishments that a student can be thankful for and even more so when their employer proves they want you to do better because they see potential. I worked with a woman who created her non-profit organization after seeing the problems in her own community and she then became the CEO of this organization to educate children in the STEM field and on other important areas that kids can learn early on in life. Working with a man who successfully built his mortgage company from the ground up on his own with the experiences and knowledge he accumulated through work and is now an operating CEO of his company, he is definitely a man of inspiration (I mean, he does have a way of being empowered by powerful motivation quotes and excerpts from Tony Robbins), just like any of your employers will one day prove to be too. I can say that I would not be the hard worker I am without their encouragement and direction.