The president of IHOP shares the two best pieces of career advice he's ever received

Natalie Walters/Business InsiderDarren Rebelez has risen through the corporate ranks by following two important pieces of career advice.

Tuesday marks the 11th annual National Pancake Day, during which IHOP serves millions of free pancakes and asks customers to donate to a charity.

To celebrate the day, we sat down with the company’s president, Darren Rebelez, in a New York City IHOP Tuesday morning.

During the conversation we asked Rebelez to share the best career advice he’s ever received. He shares his two favourite pearls of wisdom:

1. Be open to different opportunities, even if they don’t seem like they fit in exactly with what you thought you were going to do.

Rebelez, who previously worked as a manager at Exxon Mobil and as Chief Operating Officer at 7-Eleven, says he held a few analytical jobs early in his career.

“It wasn’t anything I had a background in and didn’t sound really interesting to me, but I learned a lot of things that ended up helping me out later when I was at 7-Eleven and responsible for all the gasoline,” he explains.

He says working at Exxon Mobil then prepared him for his executive role at 7-Eleven, which gave him the experience of running a retail franchise that he needed to get his current job as president of IHOP.

“You never know how the pieces will fit together over the length of your career,” he says.

2. Don’t worry about office politics.

Rebelez says he’s learned that office politics should always take a back seat to your work.

He says professionals shouldn’t be naive about the effects of office politics on their career, but that your primary focus should be on doing good work that gets good results. When you do this, everything else will fall into place.

“It’s pretty rare to see someone focused on work that gets results and being a team player that isn’t successful,” he explains. “But you do see people that are very politically savvy but don’t get the job done and aren’t successful.”

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