On my first day of work, I was excited and intimidated. After all, this is what I worked so hard to achieve. Degree in hand, I was ready to work around other professionals who were at the top of their game.
But what I came to realize is few people I worked with were “at the top of their game”. Though my expectations were lofty, my experience was anything but.
Make no mistake about it, I worked around many brilliant people. They were experienced, insightful and energetic. They thoroughly loved what they did beyond just getting a paycheck.
Working with those people was thrilling.
But, the majority of my coworkers were just muddling through, working for their bi-weekly paycheck.
In technology, most of my coworkers made good money, but yet, they were scared to death of losing their jobs because of the lifestyles they built.
Throughout my 14-year career before quitting early, I learned several valuable lessons about life:
- Standing out from the pack is not hard
- Getting promotions at work is not a mystery
- Setting myself up for success is straightforward
- Smart people make not-so-smart decisions with money
My perception of professional society was shaped very differently than I had imagined through college. I viewed my college professors as smart and accomplished people, setting the bar high and preparing us for the relentless demands of working “as a professional”.
But, the reality is much different. The bar is set low.
Showing up is half the battle. Doing your job with a smile on your face will put you ahead of the majority of your peers.
It’s not that hard to look good.