BoSacks: The Profit Prophet: 7 Tips for Advancing Your Career
Every year our esteemed Publishing Executive Editor Noelle Skodzinski calls me with a reminder about our annual tips and tricks issue. For many years, I have written about many subjects, ideas and methodologies that I have developed in the publishing wars over the past 40 years. This year I am going to cover briefly some on-the-job advice for your prolonged revenue continuity.
1. Excellence matters, but not as you might expect.
If you excel at your job, you'll get noticed. That is usually a good thing. I have always felt that it was my responsibility to make my boss look good. In addition, your personal excellence on the job will be broadcast throughout the industry. What is most important to your career is industrywide acknowledgement of your prowess. People like to gossip. If you excel at your job, it will be a topic of conversation in and, most importantly, outside of the office.
2. Marketing yourself is part of your career goal.
If you are not perceived as adding value to your company and your co-workers, there is little chance that you will have a successful career. Be knowledgeable of your strengths, and use them to promote your usefulness. Not to get too metaphysical, but you must be the success you wish to have.
3. Staying current is not nearly enough.
The technology you use today may, and most likely will, become obsolete tomorrow. You sure as heck don't want to go out with a dead-end job tied to a dead-end technology. Your long-term career is contingent upon your ability to use and understand ever-changing technologic trends. This is a far cry from the legacy thinking of the 20th century where nothing changed greatly for decades. Change is now a constant, and must be considered your friend and companion. This is critical thinking to your long-term career strategy.
4. Be positive.
Everybody is stressed and working hard in these changing times, and a permanent positive attitude is of supreme importance. Your ability to present winning smiles and confidence will spread out of your department like a benign virus. Your optimistic tone will be helpful to everyone you meet from interoffice personnel, to vendors and other professional associates.
5. Network, network, network.
People usually think about networking when they start looking for a new job, but in reality, it is your responsibility to your career to network every day. Networking is the correct path to a base of industry knowledge that is invaluable. You will make important friends, become knowledgeable about what is happening in other companies throughout the industry and, just as important as everything else, you will become visible rather than anonymous.
6. Have a plan.
From early in my career, I had a plan and a goal. I wanted to be a director of manufacturing and distribution. Everything I did was with that in mind. I am not sure that I can offer that advice to you today. Not only does the technology change rapidly, but so do the roles of supervisors and management. So it may be harder in the 21st century to plan for a specific job position that may or may not exist 10 or 20 years into your career. That is a concept worth thinking about. Where can you expect to be a decade from now?
7. You have a career, not a job.
When it comes right down to it, there is a single most important piece of advice I can offer you. I believe it is relevant no matter what level or stage you are at in your profession.
If you approach your daily paid activities as a long-term career with zeal and attention, your job, or most likely your jobs, will take care of themselves. Every day on your current job is a building block in your career. The way you relate to your co-workers, vendors, supervisors and assorted others is a successful map to your goal of continued employment.
So, in the strongest terms possible, you owe little loyalty to your present company as they have little or none for you. In no way does that mean you ever slack off or not perform to the very best of your abilities. What it means is that you are doing what you do for a different reason—the pursuit of your very own successful career. Does that sound harsh or lacking in gratitude to your current employer? It is the truth of modern-day business life. Have no fear: By pursuing your career with zeal, you will by default excel in your present job. PE
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He also is co-founder of research company mediaIDEAS (MediaIdeas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily, international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web.