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MEN&WOMEN: Instead of working to live, live for your work

Sunday February 3 2019

Learn to manage your career by thinking of each job as a two-year project.

Learn to manage your career by thinking of each job as a two-year project. ILLUSTRATION | IGAH 

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A really successful career means choosing something you love doing. Something you’re also really good at, so that you’re better than the competition. And something that the world values, in terms of respect, money or authority.

But finding that ‘something’ can be quite a challenge! So much so that you might not find it until you’re in your forties. It will require you to think deeply about yourself, to understand what really matters to you, and to identify your core skills.

Like your ability to communicate or solve problems, what you love doing so much you’d do it every day if money was not an issue. What makes you different. What you do that’s so absorbing it seems effortless.

Be willing to follow these ideas, because people who deeply enjoy what they do lead very happy lives.

Don’t live your life fixated on the idea of status, wealth or possessions. They’re all ultimately pointless in the grand scheme of things. Better to live for your work, instead of working to live. And anyway, when you’re really passionate about something and practice it so hard, you become the best, you’ll always have a good income, and be admired!

But even that’s not enough to build a great career. You also need some critical skills.


The first of those is never to stop studying. Because the learning process actually makes you cleverer, just like exercise develops your muscles.


Learn to control your impulses, and to work hard for rewards that may be years in coming. Because success’s never effortless, so you need to develop focus, determination and perseverance.

Learn to understand your emotions better. And other people’s. Become better at managing your behaviour. And predicting how others will behave.

Learn to understand the difference between important and urgent. So little things that ‘must’ be done now no longer get in the way of the stuff that really matters.

Learn to suspend your own judgment while you listen. Focusing instead on understanding the other person’s point of view. It will make a huge difference to your life.

Learn to communicate with impact and accuracy. So that people never forget you.

Learn how to take the initiative. It’s not enough to know what to do. You have to actually do it. So constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone, until taking the initiative has become part of your character.

Learn how to manage your career. Think of each job as a two-year project. During which time you simplify, automate and delegate your workload, grow a brilliant reputation for strategic thinking and staff development — and find your next position!

Know what you’re looking for in each move, whether it’s skills, experience, or a move towards self-employment.

Identify your next job, and find out who will take the hiring decisions. Network so that you get to know them, and they also get to know you. So you’re always the one who’s selected. And your career will really take off.