We at Career Express love working on Life Lessons because we get to read so many great tips along the way. This week, we found tips from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who advises that you stick up for your own ideas. There’s also advice on honing your people skills and being realistic about what “work” means. And our favorite is a bit about staying persistent in your course, like water in a stream. Whether you’ve signed on at one of the best companies to work for or are still looking for that first job out of college, it’s solid advice.
Speak Up for Your Ideas, and Keep Speaking
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told a blogger at Forbes.com that it’s important not to give up on an idea, even if it has been rebuffed as impractical or too expensive. Keep at it. It’s your job to persuade the boss (without making a pest of yourself) and the boss’ job to have an open mind.
“The technical talent people have inside of them has the ability to solve problems. Whereas management will often hold back and take very few risks because they aren’t really sure that it can be solved or it might be too expensive.”
“Maybe it’s one person down at your company—one really great engineer that has this idea. So you’ve got to be open to those. And the way to be open to them is like our original HP values, when I worked at Hewlett-Packard: good communication from top to bottom. … The people at the top should just be totally open to talking with anybody—up and down the organization.”
Dealing With People Is One of the Most Important Things
Pieter Verkade, chief commercial officer at South African telecommunications giant MTN, says the best career advice he ever received was to work hard to hone his people skills:
“Respect other people and stay positive. It’s the same advice I would give to people starting their first jobs. A lot of people come straight from university and believe they’ve learnt it all because they’ve got the degree. But there’s a lot still to be learnt when you join a company. What you’ve learnt at university is how to learn things quickly and deal with information. But what you never learn at school is how to deal with people – and it’s one of the most important things these days to be successful.”
Do What You Love, But Know You Won’t Always Love it
Rosie Pope, star of “Pregnant in Heels” and founder of Rosie Pope Maternity, says the best advice she ever received was to follow her passion:
“Do something that you love but know that even when you love it there are going to be days that you don’t. It’s always important to be passionate about what you do but there are two things you need to be real about: First, you are not going to love it every day (most jobs have elements that are not so glamorous) and, second, if you are not good at it, move on.”
Go Around the Rocks
Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More Magazine, said her favorite career advice is to be persistent.
“Hanging in is hard even when things go your way. But you have to if you want to be successful. I love it when we interview actresses who say ‘Yeah, I am such an overnight sensation: It only took me 20 years to get here.’ Same for any career. Never quit. Be like the water in the stream and go around the rocks you meet – because there will be rocks and boulders!”