Director, Professional Development @ AIIM.
Marketing, Information Management, Collaboration & Governance Geek.
This blog is intentionally light, fun and slightly irreverent. For my deep thoughts on ECM, SharePoint and Enterprise Collaboration head over to my AIIM eXpert Blog
1. Some people aren’t meant for college. I wasn’t. I couldn’t connect the busy work with my future goals and before I could give up, I ran out of money. I thought that sucked, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. If college has a learning style that is different than yours, don’t force it and waste any more money.
2. DO NOT LET anyone tell you that you can’t be successful without a college degree. It’s complete bullshit. You can’t be successful unless you work hard at being successful, having a degree just makes it easier to get beyond a hiring manager. That will be your biggest challenge without a degree, getting that first call back.
3. Get certifications. If there’s a certification that sounds nice but tells you that you need a college degree or a certain number of years of experience, say “thanks, but no thanks”. Go find a certification that requires you learn and know your shit. That’s it.Those are the types of certifications you want to go for. In my careers I’ve gotten: NASD Series 7; NASD Series 66; NASD Series 24; AIIM Enterprise 2.0 Practitioner, Specialist and Master; AIIM Enterprise Content Management Practitioner and Specialist; AIIM SharePoint Practitioner, Specialist and Master; Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Certified Professional and their Inbound Marketing Certified Instructor designations. You don’t need a college degree to impress someone with your depth of knowledge, go buy a few books and spend a couple of thousand on certifications rather than hundreds of thousands and four years of your life for a piece of paper.
4. Go and find a company to work for whose promotion system and values are based around merit, not seniority. For me, that company was Bank of America. I worked there for nearly 5 years, worked my ass off. Be prepared to work your ass off. I got promoted within my first 9 months, then was promoted again after a year and a half. Then, I realized, I hate my job and my profession.
5. Money isn’t worth your unhappiness (I wish I learned that earlier). If you don’t like what you are doing, CHANGE. It’s really hard to leave a job that you hate that pays you really well. LEAVE IT. I thought radio might be fun, it wasn’t and I wasn’t all that great at it. CHANGE.
6. YOU have the power to REDEFINE YOURSELF. Do it as frequently as necessary.
7. Try your best to be a great person at work, you never know when one of your coworkers or a business partner is going to bail you out and offer you a job when you’re down and out. (Thank you Thedra!)
8. Learn new skills on YOUR OWN. Try to learn something that you can do by yourself and survive off of, for me, this is web design. I don’t love it, but I’m pretty good at it and I can go out and build a website for someone when income slowed down.
9. When you feel down and out, start a company. You are in charge of your future. Fail miserably, you’ll learn so much more about yourself and gain so much value from starting a business and running it into the ground. (I did)
10. Do everything you can to kick ass at your job everyday, it will make up for the days when you’re giving everything but sucking (and there will be those days).
11. It may sound cliche and it always did to me but… Find something to do that you love and you will never feel like you work ever again.