Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What Advice Would You Give Your Friends and Family From your Career Experiences?

 

A friend had a very trying day at work and posted some advice based on what she had seen. I got to thinking about it, and while my professions and careers are hardly matters of life and death, I realized that I had similar advice for people. I am sure we all do, whatever our profession or job. I am not seeking the level of information in some of our posts like Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Concrete* (But Were Afraid To Ask). It’s simply a request for pithy advice from the front lines of working.

I used to program computers, and when I started my first consulting firm I offered some computer-related services. Advice I rapidly found had to be given was, “Don’t go on the Internet if you don’t have anti-virus software.”

As a process management guy, my advice is, “Don’t bother documenting them if you don’t know how you’re going to use that documentation to change things.” Also, “Don’t expect most of your people to have any idea what those diagrams mean unless they are engineers and you have given a class in reading them.”

So, what do you have, Ricochet?

There are 110 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    If you want to avoid a harassment lawsuit never, eve, compliment a co-worker. That’s harsh and had it been followed I would be a poorer man today–but less cynical.

    • #1
    • October 29, 2015, at 12:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Mike Rapkoch:If you want to avoid a harassment lawsuit never, eve, compliment a co-worker. That’s harsh and had it been followed I would be a poorer man today–but less cynical.

    Sad, but true. We live in a strange world.

    • #2
    • October 29, 2015, at 12:28 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    If you earn a living by writing, your talent — over time — is much less important than your ability consistently to write pieces that are roughly what the client requested by the client’s deadline. Professional writing is no place for those whose talent is buffeted about by the fickle whims of a creative muse. What separates “talented writers” from `’people who can support themselves by writing” is the latter’s ability to say something coherent and readable every single day — even when they don’t feel like saying anything at all, or indeed have nothing all that interesting to say on any given day.

    • #3
    • October 29, 2015, at 12:46 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Judge Mental Member

    Mine is a more generalized version of what Claire is saying. Work time is work time, not play time. Be the one known for getting the job done.

    • #4
    • October 29, 2015, at 12:52 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. MikeHs Inactive

    There is no shortcut for honesty and integrity, but also for listening and respect, when dealing with and advocating on behalf of clients. It’s best that your client, and their adversaries, know that you are a straight shooter.

    • #5
    • October 29, 2015, at 1:06 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Freeven Member
    FreevenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    On day one, make friends with the custodial staff.

    • #6
    • October 29, 2015, at 1:10 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Tedley Member

    Mike Rapkoch:If you want to avoid a harassment lawsuit never, eve, compliment a co-worker. That’s harsh and had it been followed I would be a poorer man today–but less cynical.

    Could you provide some background regarding the “compliment”?

    • #7
    • October 29, 2015, at 1:14 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor

    The most important part of any machine is the guy who’s running it.

    • #8
    • October 29, 2015, at 1:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Son of Spengler Contributor

    There is an inherent tradeoff between reward and risk. Reducing any risk requires some sacrifice, and on the flip side, higher returns don’t come “free” — they mean that you are assuming greater risk somewhere.

    • #9
    • October 29, 2015, at 4:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Pony Convertible Member

    Those, that, talk, smile and laugh but have marginal performance will get more recognition than the quiet, but excellent, performer. You have to toot your own horn.

    • #10
    • October 29, 2015, at 4:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Pony Convertible Member

    Mike Rapkoch:If you want to avoid a harassment lawsuit never, eve, compliment a co-worker. That’s harsh and had it been followed I would be a poorer man today–but less cynical.

    I agree with this except for compliments about how they did their job.

    • #11
    • October 29, 2015, at 4:44 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Casey Inactive

    Nobody fires the fun guy.

    • #12
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:00 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If you want to start your own business, do it with all your heart. Be prepared to screw up a couple of times, but don’t let fear or other people’s expectations stop you. It may not seem logical to take the leap into uncertain income when your stay-at-home wife is expecting your fifth child, but success is not entirely a matter of logic.

    • #13
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:08 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: If you want to start your own business, do it with all your heart. Be prepared to screw up a couple of times, but don’t let fear or other people’s expectations stop you.

    Very true. As with so many things, waiting seldom makes it better.

    • #14
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:10 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. iWe Coolidge
    iWeJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You can be the smartest guy you know, and the hardest working. But unless you are willing to take risks, that just means you will be the sharpest tool in someone else’s shed.

    People make very irrational decisions when risk is involved.

    • #15
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:16 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Casey Inactive

    You’re a prostitute. You sell yourself for money. Don’t make more of it than it really is.

    • #16
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:18 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Work hard, keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, and don’t f*** it up.

    • #17
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:22 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    iWe:You can be the smartest guy you know, and the hardest working. But unless you are willing to take risks, that just means you will be the sharpest tool in someone else’s shed.

    People make very irrational decisions when risk is involved.

    I would certainly read with great interest a post from you about your career has taught you about how and when to take risk wisely. Wouldn’t everyone here?

    • #18
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Casey:You’re a prostitute. You sell yourself for money. Don’t make more of it than it really is.

    Speak for yourself.

    • #19
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Casey:You’re a prostitute. You sell yourself for money. Don’t make more of it than it really is.

    I was never a prostitute in any job. I reject this analogy completely.

    • #20
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Casey Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Casey:You’re a prostitute. You sell yourself for money. Don’t make more of it than it really is.

    Speak for yourself.

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad:

    Casey:You’re a prostitute. You sell yourself for money. Don’t make more of it than it really is.

    I was never a prostitute in any job. I reject this analogy completely.

    If they took away the money, would you do the job?

    • #21
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:31 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Casey Inactive

    Nick Stuart:Work hard, keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, and don’t f*** it up.

    Nobody cares about the hard work it took to get their burger to the table. They only care about the experience of eating the burger. Don’t screw that part up.

    • #22
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Vectorman Member

    For a new product, write the Programming / User Manual first, then decide what features to include within the time/budget. Make sure non-engineers can understand and read the Manual. Add rejected features and other improvements later if your product is a success.

    • #23
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant

    Casey: If they took away the money, would you do the job?

    In my case, so long as I have means, yes. I enjoy the things I do.

    • #24
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Working for money is not the same as being pimped.

    • #25
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:37 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    If you are fighting corruption, don’t “call the hotline”. That’s how you get fired. Instead, isolate a couple of likely people (the lawyer, the ethics guy, the personnel guy) and load them up with enough information to do the right thing. And document that you have given it to them. And gently deflect their reminders that you are free to “call the hotline”.

    I could write a thriller about this stuff. Ball Diamond Brockovich.

    • #26
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:39 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Quit any job you don’t enjoy, as soon as you can. Sooner, depending upon how much you don’t enjoy it.

    • #27
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Condensed version of my patented four-point “getting out of the military” speech:

    1. Go to school. Just go. The money will come. I had a girlfriend who told me this when I was a very poor very young very junior enlisted guy. I pooh-poohed her advice, but you know what? She was right. If not, you can always go back later.
    2. Go to school. See all those idiots? No two of them can pass each other in an eight foot wide hallway without bumping into each other for sheer idiocy. They’re doing fine. You can do college standing on your head. The challenge is refraining from strangling the idiots. Endeavor to persevere.
    3. “Hiring hookups” is not a bad thing — it’s the way the real world works, and to everybody’s benefit. It’s only a bad term in the military, also to everybody’s benefit. If I know you and I know the job, then my recommendation works for everybody.
    4. The want ad describes a person who will NEVER walk through the door. Look around. See all these idiots? That’s your competition. Put on a tie, walk in there, and tell the guy that you’re not sure what all that stuff is, but you know how to stick to a tough job and you’ve proven that you can be trained.

    Nobody believes this until they try it. They thank me years later.

    • #28
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:47 AM PDT
    • Like
  29. iWe Coolidge
    iWeJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    iWe:You can be the smartest guy you know, and the hardest working. But unless you are willing to take risks, that just means you will be the sharpest tool in someone else’s shed.

    People make very irrational decisions when risk is involved.

    I would certainly read with great interest a post from you about your career has taught you about how and when to take risk wisely. Wouldn’t everyone here?

    OK. On my list.

    • #29
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:48 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Casey Inactive

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad:Working for money is not the same as being pimped.

    Very true. That’s why I didn’t say pimped

    • #30
    • October 29, 2015, at 5:50 AM PDT
    • Like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.