Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The best career advice I ever received.

Props to Paige for this post idea.

I worked in hospitality from 15-20, so when I got my first office job, the environment was a bit different to what I was used to. I was only 20, and to be honest - I definitely acted it. I was used to being the boss and being super friendly with everyone I worked with. I was used to everyone knowing my personality (loud, sarcastic) and I wasn't prepared for getting in trouble for being honest or trying to be funny. I quickly learned and I was at that job for about 5 years, until I moved to America.

For the majority of the time I worked there, I had this one boss. It was weird though, he was my boss but he wasn't my direct supervisor and we worked in different areas, so he wasn't really my boss. Anyway, he was really good about dealing with me and shaping hospitality Kristen into office appropriate Kristen. 

The best piece of advice he ever gave me was this:

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.
  

Obviously he didn't coin this quote, but it had the biggest impact on me. I was a bit of a brat, to be honest. I took everything personally and acted like I was in high school because that's what my previous jobs were like. After he shared that gem with me, I started to realise that no-one was going to hold my hand and lead me up the ladder, no-one is going to put up with a snarky person who doesn't seem like they take their job seriously, no-one would value or appreciate someone who didn't seem to enjoy their job.

The thing is - I did enjoy my job, I did appreciate it and I did take it seriously. I just didn't know how to show it. Ever since then I have really monitored my attitude and how I come across. I can choose to be happy and enjoy my job (within reason) or I can choose to hate my workplace and what I do. 

I'm not a very career driven person, I never have been. Don't mistake that for not being a hard worker - I enjoy working, I work hard, I am a good employee (in my humble opinion). But I have no desires to have my own company or climb the ladder very high. I just want to be happy and enjoy what I do. Simple.

I remember this boss and his advice all the time, even though he didn't even say goodbye on my last day and it was several years ago. I appreciate him taking me under his wing, and I have applied this advice to every aspect of my life. 



I'm not talking about faking happiness or being someone you're not, I'm just saying that how I react to, perceive and overcome things, not to mention the ability to enjoy my life, including work, is all in my attitude. My attitude is within my control, therefore my happiness is in my control.

The worst career advice I ever received was to work as poorly as possible so that you get fired and have to go on the dole (welfare). Um, yeah okay.

What's the best advice you've ever received - work or otherwise?

60 comments:

  1. AMEN, sistah! Attitude is everything! If you dread EVERY meeting and everything you have to do is torture it makes for a pretty miserable day in and day out. Plus, no one wants to hear the complaining everyday either. I don't love my job but it's my job, I make good money and can take lots of vacation, so I smile every morning and do what needs to be done. You and I are alike in our out look :)!

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  2. I think this is some really great advice! I think we've all worked with a debby downer at work who just complains ALL THE TIME, and no one wants to be around them. It's almost toxic. A good attitude can make a world of difference!

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  3. Great post! I need to remember this so much! I often work on the approval of others which makes me very sensitive and I absolutely hate that quality. I am sure it stems from lack of self-esteem but I haven't found out quite yet how to create my own self-esteem and not base it off of what others think of me. I love the attitude quote!
    Linds @ Not A Mom

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  4. I agree! Working in an office setting, you're going to be around the same people every day for 8 hours. You've got to learn to keep your emotions in check and stay professional even though some of your coworkers make you want to jab your own eyes out with a letter opener. LOL.

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  5. That's a good thing to learn! I think first jobs are rough- whether you're scooping ice cream or it's your first time in an office environment. I think clear communication and asking for clarification when you need it is what I would share with others! It may feel awkward, but it's better than doing something wrong!

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  6. I want to say thank you. Forever, I have believed that there was something wrong with me because I don't want to be a boss or be my own boss. It seems that that is literally every working person'so dream. It makes me feel better to know that somebody else out there feels the same way I do.

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  7. SO true!!! You control your own happiness so if you're unhappy at work only you have the power to change that! And the worst advice you ever received is definitely the worst I've ever heard lol! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  8. yes, pretty much the same thing but this came from my dad. he was such an honorable man and he taught me that hard work, honor and pride in the things you do will take you far. i've been in the (full time) work force since the late 90s and i at every job, i put in 100%, even if i hate what i'm doing because in the end, when you leave, you can leave behind nothing so all of your time there won't even be remembered, bad stuff that people will talk about or good stuff people will remember....i prefer the latter.

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  9. Wow LOVE this! I can't even begin to describe how much more I love my job that I'm at now, and how much better I'm doing there all because I've had a great attitude. And lol at "office appropriate Kristen" <3

    Green Fashionista

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  10. I love this advice (and had to laugh at the worst advice)! I've totally found this to be true, too - it's amazing what a big difference an attitude shift can make. Since we spend so much time at work, it really impacts all aspects of life so it's so important to make it a positive experience.

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  11. This is awesome advice, being positive and having a good attitude at work is very important! Though whenever I think about an office job I automatically think about The Office TV show :)

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  12. "My attitude is within my control" this is spot on girl!

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  13. I will agree with this only as long as your office job is as ridiculous and hilarious as The Office ;)

    In all seriousness, this is great. When my husband was SO miserable at his last job (and making everyone else miserable around him...) it was like change your 'tude, dude! You're only making yourself more miserable right now.

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  14. I took Latin all 4 years of high school with the same teacher (and I loved her so no one is surprised that I, too became a Latin teacher...), and every semester on the first day she gave us a printout of that Charles Swindoll quote. It didn't really resonate with me at the time, to be honest, but I kept them anyway and by the time I graduated I had accumulated quite the collection. When I went off to college I kept one...I'm not really sure why because, like I said, it wasn't extremely impactful for me at the time. But I kept it and as I got older I realized how true it was and how I could control my attitude.
    Sorry for the anecdote, but I actually just found that printout the other day. The point of the story is that your boss was spot on. And related, having a boss or mentor at work to teach you lessons like that is so invaluable!

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  15. Oh bummer, I wrote out this whole thing and it didn't post. Ugh. I like your advice, I think it's going to help me make it through the rest of the time before I am doing invites/calligraphy/stationery full time. :) My dad always said to take what you love, and find a way to make money at it. I didn't know what that would be until very recently... but things are going well so far, and I really feel like he knew what he was talking about! :) I don't feel like I'm working at all! I love it. Which is good, because I am not career minded either! But I would rather figure out how to have my own business and get to be creative and talk to people than stay working at a desk. BUT in the meantime, your advice should help with the desk part. :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  16. Great advice. Thanks for the inspiration! Happy Wednesday ♥♥

    summerdaisy.net

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  17. This is such great advice! Nothing bothers me more than when people I work with bring their own problems or create problems in the work space...it is always important to be professional and part of that is having a good attitude!

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  18. That's good! I'm so glad you had someone to give you some pointers and that you were mature enough to listen! I probably wouldn't have. My head was too far up my a** when I was that age. I didn't listen to anyone and my life was a lot harder because of it!

    P.S. I am so glad the waiting tables days are over. I hated it soooo much!

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  19. That is fantastic advice! I wish someone would have said that to me a few years ago - I probably could've benefited from hearing it myself. The best advice that I've ever received is to simply be myself and because of that, I really don't ever make excuses for who I am or how I act. :)

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  20. Same type of person here - I work hard, I'm good at my job, but I'm not driven by career/owning my own anything/etc.

    So many things at work are not in our control - no use being a dick because of it. Let it go and roll with it and your work will be better and you will be happier!

    Advice I hate: find what you love and make $$ from it. Well, if I had to do what I loved in order to make $$, I would probably no longer love it...there are hobbies and work for a reason.

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  21. Such good advice! i'm totally one of those people that wants to get to the top of the ladder, but I'm certainly not going to do that with a shit attitude!

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  22. I always need this reminder - I work with someone who has the WORST attitude in the world & I have to remember I'm in charge of my own.

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  23. they definitely say that your attitude has the biggest impact as it is what your coworkers remember the most about you. Like you said, you want to enjoy work. It really is true that most others do as well, therefore they're not gonna want to work with a continual negative nancy! :) Great post.

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  24. The best piece of advice I ever received was actually from my therapist who I hated: you can't control other people's behavior but you can control your reaction to it. I'm not always the best at following that advice but it's definitely made a difference for me.

    I'm the same way with work--I work hard and do a good job and am a great employee but I'm not overly career driven. Maybe a little more now in my new field but definitely not before.

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  25. I kinda want to know non-work appropriate Kristen! Haha! I am the same in that I am good at my job and it works to my strengths but I have no desire to be in charge or high on the ladder. I like my free time to much. Best advice, leave work at home. Nothing makes for a dull home life if you stress well into the night about work. It's all about balance!

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  26. Great advice, and it's SO true! I've gotten a few offers and made connections just because I was polite at events or remembered to send thank you emails to people after meeting them. Skills can be taught, but personalities can't!

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  27. That is good advice! I once had a teacher my freshman year of high school tell me "I'm giving you a 94 because you're pretty but you'll never make it in the real world. You should definitely rely on your looks." Probably the worst advice I ever received... from the teacher who always got dress code violations. She was a mess.

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  28. This can also be applied to life in general. This is some wise advice! The best advice I have ever gotten came from the time I was a teacher and I was having a lot of problems with a student. I went to my boss and she told me "You are not a teacher, you are the leader of the group, YOU are the only want in charge of setting the tone". It was so empowering and after that my attitude completely changed.

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  29. That's really great advice, the attitude/aptitude/altitude. I've learned to not just work hard, but work smart. Some things you do will bring you happiness and advance your career, and other stuff is crap. Don't do the crap -- though sometimes you have to anyways.

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  30. Love this-so true! I gotta say this all came for circle for me with that quote at the end because I worked for Pastor Chuck's (Charles Swindoll) church for three years (it's where I worked until I had to quit to move to Chicago). I love that man!

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  31. It is soooo true!! At my current job, I was hired as a receptionist and then months later they asked me to start scanning in tens of thousands of documents! I was pretty bummed at first because scanning isn't very fun haha BUT it did make me realize that it isn't even that bad compared to most jobs! I still get to greet people and do other fun stuff and the company I work for is AMAZING! Plus, with me scanning all of this stuff, it will probably look good come review time :) So basically yes, this post is amazing! Best advice I've ever gotten was to marry your best friend haha SO CLICHE but so true! :)

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  32. That's great you had a boss to take you under his wing and teach you some goodoffice etiquette and attitude while at work.

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  33. "I'm not a very career driven person, I never have been. Don't mistake that for not being a hard worker - I enjoy working, I work hard, I am a good employee (in my humble opinion). But I have no desires to have my own company or climb the ladder very high. I just want to be happy and enjoy what I do. Simple."
    Same. I don't need to be CEO. I need to be happy. And for me, those two things ARE mutually exclusive. Anyway.
    I do love both of those quotes. I'd never heard the first, but I have heard the second and I need to make it a point to remember it more often.
    I have two favorite pieces of advice that I try to live by (among others, in more nuanced situations). The first is from my mother: "Consider the source." So basically referring to feedback or criticism, keep in mind that the person giving it out can change what you should take away from a message. So, for example if Judy Blume told me she hated my book (in an imaginary world where I even register on Judy Blume's radar), I'd take that to heart because, hello, she knows what she's talking about. If she told me the thought my handstand was weak, well, maybe I wouldn't really care what she thinks of my handstand. This is a terrible example, but you know what I mean.
    The second is a quote by Maya Angelou: "When someone shows you who they are believe them, the first time." I have this hanging up in my apartment. It is crucial and it took me much too long to learn it, so I never want to forget it.

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  34. That is such good advice!!! For me, I always have to remember that not everyone is going to like me or have the same work ethic as me so I try to be patient with other people and not expect things of them. My dream would be to own my own company so I dont have to worry about work politics! haha! I am actually pretty lucky with my current position, the people I work with are really decent. I have been in some horrible work conditions before so it makes me grateful for now.

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  35. 100% totally agree with your old boss! Nobody wants to work with somebody that has a bad attitude, and you'll always catch more flies with honey than vinegar (or whatever the phrase is).
    Did somebody really tell you that worst piece of advice! That's seriously the most terrible thing I've heard!
    My best price of advice was from my dad who told me to find something I love because I'll be working too long to hate what I'm doing.

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  36. What a great piece of advice! Attitude does determine so much about a person's life :)

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  37. "I just want to be happy and enjoy what I do. Simple." I am the EXACT SAME WAY. I've never had huge aspirations like some people do. It used to make me feel bad but now I accept it and I'm fine with it. Like you said, it doesn't mean we aren't good employees or hard workers... you can be a good employee and work hard anywhere! :)

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  38. Some of the best advice I've gotten is "Know your worth" because others won't be able to help noticing it. It's helpful in every situation, including the work environment where I'm ALWAYS anxious about doing a good job. But, like you, I do believe I'm a good employee. I always work hard. So being confident in that helps.

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  39. Wow. You absolutely read my mind today. I NEEDED this so bad. This is great inspiration and gives me the extra push I really need to make myself happy in my work life!

    Staci
    www.missbloodymary.com

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  40. I think your boss was totally right (but ew why didn't he say by to you on your last day!?!?) about the attitude in your work ethic. So true. Sometimes, office life can be unfair. People can be mean and hurtful, but the way we handle those sticky situations says a LOT about us!

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  41. As someone who is quitting their job in two weeks, this is really helpful! UGH I am freaking out right now. I totally believe in the great attitude. A lot of people at my work have a terrible attitude and I can't stand to be around them. I need to try to be positive in this crazy time of leaving my job XD!! I will technically be working my other job until into January/February, but I'm still freaking out. It can be so hard to stay positive around a negative environment at work and not buy into people's drama, sometimes.

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  42. This is quite interesting - I'm not that great at expressing myself to people I'm not close to and I'm not great at asking things. Things often came to me because I'm a hard worker and people saw it - in Britain people don't give you anything unless you asked for it and I've definitely had to change my attitude and it's pushing me out of my comfort zone. Definitely will make me grow though!

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  43. to choose happiness. life sucks a lot of times, so you can sit and cry (sometimes that helps) or after some time you can choose happiness. choose to be happy.

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  44. I've never really been career driven either and I think that's hard for my parents to understand. I'm a hard worker and a good worker, always have been but I don't have huge aspirations of being a girl boss. Someday that could be in the cards for me, but right now I'm happy where I am and for me it's really about liking the people I work with and not hating going to work everyday.

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  45. This is really good advice! I like it. I've never been very career driven either, but I also don't want to take my job and the opportunities I have lightly. Thanks for sharing! xoxo

    Brainchild

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  46. I love that piece of advice!

    I can definitely relate to not being a "career" person. I am super hard working and I enjoy it, but that's not what's most important to me. What's most important to me is the life at home that I chose, and being with family.

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  47. I had a training yesterday about Millennials and how we are perceived in the work place and it was really eye opening! As crazy as it sounds - the best piece of advice is an old quote that is repeated a lot - but love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life! I'm super motivated and career driven - both professionally and personally and I dream of the day I only work for myself!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  48. I definitely don't love what I do but it pays the bills and allows me a relatively comfortable lifestyle. Attitude is EVERYTHING. People sense your energy before you ever open your mouth. Have you ever seen the alphabet theory picture?

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  49. This is such an important thing to keep in mind. I need to keep my attitude in check and remember I control my own happiness, even in my career. It's nice that that old boss of yours took you under his wing and coached you into the new environment. It's always hard to shift gears. I'm with you, I don't aspire to do amazing over the top, ladder climbing things, I just want to love what I do and get paid for it. A lot of that has to do with attitude, so thanks for the reminder!

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  50. I'm with you. I have very little desire to be the boss. I just want to be happy and enjoy my life and job. I think the best advice I have been given is to speak up. I used to have such a fear of authority and I was always afraid to voice my opinion, especially if it was contrary to the person in charge. I'm learning that when you speak up, others are grateful for it and they respect you more.

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  51. Love this! It's so true that attitude can change every situation. We can all get stuck in not enjoying our work life which takes up so much of our time, it's so important to have a good attitude so you don't spend 40 hours a week being miserable!!

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  52. This is so spot on! Attitude plays such a big part of situations and I think if you go into something with a really crappy outlook, you're going to have a rough go of it no matter what. Sometimes taking a step back to readjust is a really good idea! x

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  53. attitude is everything; i couldn't agree more. best advice someone ever told me was "everything is fixable. this isn't brain surgery. and for those who do brain surgery.. well never mind that."

    haha it just stuck with me. work can suck and it can be a problem, but it's all fixable.

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  54. I've been thinking about this since yesterday, giving it much consideration. I think the best work advice I ever received was this: One day when you are dying and on your deathbed, chances are that as you reflect on your life you will not say, "I regret that I didn't work more." Work is important, but it is not the be all end all and there is more to you than your work. Work in order to live; don't live in order to work.

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  55. As someone struggling a little to find the joy in my job lately, I really needed this post! Thanks for the words of wisdom and the necessary kick in the butt!

    xo,
    Lita

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  56. You sound exactly like me when I started my "big girl" job when I was 18. My boss at that time really made an impact on me as well. Thank goodness for those bosses that see the good in us and worked to improve our abilities! Your right, your attitude definitely is controllable and choosing happiness is the way to go!

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  57. Yes, yes, yes. Great advice and great quotes here. I am also working on being more positive. And that includes in my "career" as a stay at home mom. Kids can be frustrating to say the least and I'm trying to CHOOSE not to lose my temper or be a miserable complainer over petty stuff. I love being around positive people myself...they just emit good energy. So I am really trying to make an effort to be one of them! It doesn't come naturally to me at all!

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  58. That Charles Swindoll quote is spot on! Really this whole post is. Our attitudes affect so much of our lives!

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  59. I needed to hear this! I don't particularly enjoy the office I work in but I know my attitude doesn't help. I feel like I'm nice and all but every morning is a struggle to go in because "It's just sooo awful" (it's really not that bad!). And I'm like you, while in college I thought I would be this big business woman and the older I got, the more I realized that wasn't me! But I would like to enjoy what I every day.

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