What you need to know:
- Study something you’re truly passionate about during your late teens and early twenties.
- You should take control of your career during your mid-twenties to mid-thirties.
Our careers pass through stages, so you should plan for them. Even though they’ll probably be disrupted by unpredictable events. So you also have to learn to cope with getting knocked off track!
Which means your most important career stage is actually the first, in your early teens. Where you develop the habits and skills that will underpin your progress. Such as controlling your impulses and working hard. Success is never effortless, so develop determination and perseverance. And find your first small jobs, so you’re already developing workplace competences.
Study something you’re truly passionate about during your late teens and early twenties. But recognise that college doesn’t matter nearly as much as your ability and determination. Think of people like Bill Gates, who dropped out to start businesses, realising that college wasn’t relevant to their lives.
Identify your core abilities, and what you do that’s so absorbing it seems effortless. Because people who deeply enjoy what they do lead very happy lives.
Live simply, and develop your ability to take risks while the stakes are still low.
Work through college: an internship related to your intended profession, and some paid work, however scruffy! Both do wonders for your CV, saying that you know how to get up in the morning, fit in with a team and tough things out.
Find a job you really love, or start a business to create one. Work really hard and get to be amazing at it.
You should take control of your career during your mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Think of every job as a two-year project during which you simplify and delegate your workload, build a reputation for strategic thinking and staff development; and find your next position!
Know what you’re looking for in each job and identify your target positions. Find out who’ll take the hiring decisions, and network so you know them and they know you. So you’re always the one who’s selected.
Live within your means and save right from the start. Build up a reserve of cash, then invest in shares or a business. Acquire property last of all, because at this stage you need to keep your money flexible. Raising money for a profitable business is fine, but avoid personal loans. Because borrowing for anything else is crippling. Nothing’s worth paying all that interest.
Somewhere in your midlife you should rebalance your career objectives with your goals for your family. Even if you’re still on track to make a CEO, recognise that you’ll retire sooner or later. And with increased life expectancies that could mean many purposeless years. Instead, plan to go on working productively for as long as you’re healthy.
Choose an activity where age and wisdom are assets. Use interest from your wealth to fund a more relaxed working style, and devote significant time to your family and the community. And keep fit! Then in all probability this will be the most satisfying part of your entire life.