Career Advice My Mom Gave Me!

My past away a couple of years ago, but I’m constantly reminded of advice she gave, or more accurately, things she told me, but at the time I probably blew off as stuff your parents tell you that you believe they have no idea about! Sound right, parents!?

I had someone come into our office recently to interview. Right before this person came in, I was driving into our parking lot and it struck me that every single vehicle in the parking lot was newer and clean. A bunch of nice-looking cars! How stupid is it to notice something like that?

That’s when I remembered my Mom telling me that when you go on an interview pay attention to the cars in the parking lot. She said you want to work at a company where the employees drive nice cars because that means they pay well. If there are a bunch of junkers and a few nice ones, only a few people are getting paid well!

And there it is – Mom’s advice that I thought was stupid at the time it was given, and all of sudden it was pretty accurate!

I’ve given out a lot of career advice over the years. Some are probably based on my own experience, and some were given to me by all those mentors in my life (parents, grandparents, respected leaders, and peers).

Here is some of my favorite career advice:

Don’t chase titles, chase responsibility. I chased titles and I missed out on some great career outcomes by not being patient enough. All along I had the responsibility I wanted, and that should have been enough.

Culture always wins. We think as leaders we can just come into any company and make the culture our own. You can’t. You can make the culture something new, but it will be a mix of old and what you bring to it, it will not be just yours entirely.

Find ways to stand up for your trusted advisors, publicly, and never break that trust, privately. Professionally, you are the measure of your circle of trust. You will have times when you can demonstrate that trust both publicly and privately. Make sure you do both, as often as you can.

Don’t be a disgruntled employee, ever. If you are underpaid or underappreciated, just leave. Being disgruntled will follow you in ways you don’t even know. Being a strong employee that leaves to pursue other employment, will not follow you.

Hire people who are so talented, they scare the sh*t out of you. I want to be surrounded by people who should have my job. That’s how I will continue to push myself to be better and actually create the greatest outcomes for all involved. I’m scared because they are so good, they will take my job unless I get better! One of my mentors once asked me, before she hired me, “Are you better than me?” The only way she could hire me was if I said, “Yes”.

What is the best career advice you have been given by someone close to you, that at the time you might not have agreed with, but over time you’ve come to appreciate?

Hit me in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Career Advice My Mom Gave Me!

  1. Tim, I love the advice of “hiring people that scare the $hi* out of you”! As a leader if I am the smartest person in the room we have BIG problems, I think your advice is so true and one we often struggle with when leading teams. It’s imperative to get people on our teams that have big, scary, crazy dreams and push others to challenge their line of thinking. Such great advice…Health and Happiness to the entire Sackett Family!

  2. Don’t decide for a candidate……I can hear the manager I worked with in a placement firm tell a recruiter who was convinced that his candidate was going to decline an incoming job offer before the offer had even been presented. The manager always said: “Let THEM say no….don’t decide for them.” Negative thought/defeatist behavior delivers disappointment every time.

  3. It goes along with not chasing the title, but never be afraid to make a lateral move. The same title/position at another organization can open up a world of opportunity, growth, and professional satisfaction.

  4. The best advice to give is to “get the job first, then you can turn it down after an offer”. Often times, candidates have doubts about a particular job or company, but they agree to do the interview anyway. So, they go in with an attitude that THEY have to prove to me this job is worthy enough or THEY have to answer my questions to my satisfaction. If you enter the interview with that attitude, then you will either come off arrogant or lacking excitement for the opportunity. If the job is worthy enough to interview, then go in as it is the best job ever, ask the questions you need…..then you can decide to take it if an offer is made. Now, some people might counter and say they should never take an interview they are not excited about; that just isn’t practical because you don’t always have all the information.

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