80,000 hours. That is how long you can expect work over the course of your lifetime. I'm well on my way, approaching the 35,000-hour mark by now.
I've done my fair share of work. First in the accounting department of an airline (not awesome). Then at an investment bank (surprisingly boring). Finally, I spent about 14 years at Microsoft Corporation (great place to work). Now I'm an entrepreneur (ahhh…finally!).
Over the years, I've learned a lot about how work can impact life and vice versa. I've seen what helps me get ahead and what holds me back.
I've learned what to do. I've learned what not to do!
If I could turn back time, there are plenty of things I would have done differently. Here are 12 things I wish I knew when I first started working:
1) Be an outstanding communicator
If you can't communicate, it's like winking at a girl in the dark. - Warren Buffett
Lots of people are smart.
If you made it to a career at a reputable company (or have the guts to start your own), chances are you are smart too. Being smart isn't enough. Your ability to communicate is a massive factor in your career success. The top people in a company are rarely the smartest. They are the smartest that also know how to present themselves well.
Learn how to communicate — through writing and performing. Find out how to introduce complex ideas and arguments. Don't fear negative feedback. Keep refining the skill.
Not sure where to start? Join Toastmasters, or even better, volunteer a toast at the next wedding you attend (I did this twice last year!). Pitch an idea for a local Ignite or TED-style gathering (I've also done this). There are countless opportunities to practice and improve your communication skill.