As the founder and CEO of Linux Academy, Anthony James has received career and leadership advice from friends, mentors, CEOs, influencers in the industry, and many more. Here are the 7 worst pieces of career advice he’s heard along the way, and what to do instead.
1. Passion Doesn’t Pay
Success takes more than just wishful thinking. It might just take blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a lot easier to succeed when you’re passionate about the work itself. Find something you’re truly passionate about, whether it’s an industry, business component, skill, or position, and use that to fuel your fire. You’ll be surprised by what you can achieve with a powerful force driving you.
2. Master multitasking
In today’s business world, especially in the tech industry, employees work harder and longer than ever before. Most spend their time hopping back and forth between projects and checking in on their social media sites, texts, and other apps. They may feel like they’re getting more done, but they probably aren’t. Good work is a product of laser-like focus.
3. Fake it till you make it
It’s okay not to know something, but if you pretend to understand instead of taking the time to truly learn, then you’re not going to succeed. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you’ll grow. Read, study, and train to learn as much as you can. Interview leaders in and outside of your industry to learn from the best. There is no shortcut to success.
4. Staff up
When companies are thriving, people will tell you to hire lots of people to keep the momentum going. Since most businesses can’t afford the price of poor performers, it’s better to take your time and not over-hire. Focus on developing the employees you already have, and when you do hire, hire for skills and talent, but more importantly, hire for culture fit.
5. Burn the midnight oil
People will tell you that personal sacrifice is necessary for achieving success, and it’s definitely a component. But burning the candle at both ends will just leave you burned out. Your work performance will actually improve if you take time to unplug and recharge. It’s a worthwhile balancing act.
6. “If you’ve got it…”
Don’t flaunt it. Most employees think they have to be aggressive and outshine their colleagues to show their worth. While being recognized and rewarded for hard work is important, overconfidence leads to oversights. The value you add should speak for itself. Trying too hard shows that you only care about what’s best for you, and not your company, co-workers, or customers.
7. Always wear rose-colored glasses
Staying positive will get you through tough times, but in business, you have to consider the risks. As a leader, your actions have an impact on more than just yourself. Having unrealistic expectations can set you and your team up for a mental health breakdown. Being blinded by optimism and overlooking real problems that need to be addressed will leave you surprised by harsh realities.
About Anthony James
Anthony is the Founder and CEO of Linux Academy. He founded Linux Academy in 2012 to help him pass a Linux certification exam after struggling to learn with existing training methods. Next thing he knew, the site was helping tens of thousands of students pass certifications and improve their careers. Now, Anthony is leading the organization towards making training even more efficient than it ever has been through the use of technology. Outside of business and technology, Anthony is a family man with a caring wife and two adorable boys. He enjoys Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, riding his motorcycle, and Mexican food.
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