There are secrets of success that young professionals and executives should heed as they rise in their careers. “Yet, some principles that ambitious up-and-comers routinely follow may not be so wise,” says Charles W.B. Wardell, III, president and CEO of the Illinois-based executive search firm Witt/Kieffer. “In fact, quite often these principles may steer one’s career down the wrong road.”
Here are four common career myths in need of debunking, according to Wardell:
Myth No. 1: You can get it all done by age 35.
“Devote years up to age 35 not to furious job movement, but to finding out what you are good at — and how to make a career of it,” Wardell suggests. “Not only are the later years in one’s career the time at which earnings peak, but they are also when executives exert the most influence, lead teams, departments, and organisations, and spearhead major strategic initiatives.” When you rise to the top, make sure you are up to the challenge, he adds.
Myth No. 2: It’s all about the money.
Not so, says Wardell. Few of us will ever be able to make — or spend — enough money to compensate for a career or life fundamentally out of sync with our interests and motivations. “Let those be drivers. In most cases, those who do what they love are also those who are well compensated for it.”
Myth No. 3: You’ll be consistently rewarded for the excellence of your job performance.
Unfortunately, consistent excellence will not drive consistent reward. Be aware of the need to also consistently market the value of your performance, he says. “Keep track of your successes large and small, and share them, tactfully, during performance appraisals, salary negotiations, or other appropriate moments.”
Myth No. 4: You’re special.
“Very few of us are special,” Wardell explains. “Some people, however, really know how to manage their careers. They know how to find jobs and companies within which to excel, and find fulfillment in the work that they do. Career contentment is special.”
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