22 10 11 - 09:13From the forums:
(1) Find what you are good at.
(2) Find a skill that corresponds to that and which you can enjoy.
(3) Get the education, certification and entry-level job experience required.
Stop: you are age 30 at this time, if not a little older.
(4) Find the right place for you to work.
(a) Pick an area of your field that interests you and which is lucrative/expanding
(b) Be very selective about who you work for and where you live. This is no longer an entry-level job!
(c) If something isn't working, do nothing -- find another position, then leave the first.
(d) Repeat until satisfaction achieved.
(5) Find some way to capitalize on this: write a book, become an expert, become a consultant, etc.
Most of all, look for some place where you are EFFECTIVE and able to use your skills to a constructive end. These are the happiest careers. Money follows this naturally because where you are talented, enjoying yourself and effective, you will succeed.
During 1-3 you are in entry-level stages. Your goal here is to do a reasonable job in as short an amount of time as possible. Do not slave at the office for the extra 5%. Get the big things right, make a professional showing and get to know people in your field outside of the office. But don't slave over it. You are young, and will want to spend this time growing, enjoying, exploring, etc. _If you can get your job done in two hours a day and only miss a few unnecessary meetings, do it. No one will care in the long term and they will respect you for not being a whore_.
In stage 4, you are at the peak of your abilities. You will want to spend more time on working and getting that 5% nailed, but you have to fight for a work-life balance that is closer to 50-50 than the 80-20 most people choose (sleep does not count as "life"). Bottom line: with power comes the ability to clear idiots out of your way. Get that power, get control and be even more effective.
In stage 5, you are in your fifties or sixties and have a good deal of power because you have more experience than anyone else. Transfer that experience into being an expert consultant, writing a book or books on your field, etc. Also keep an eye out for investments to buy and the ability to gain a controlling interest in your firm.
All of the above apply to EVERY career except truly granular labor.
* If you are a security guard, you will be an experienced security guard after a decade and then you will be able to use that as a selling point and rise in your career, ultimately to the point where you may be training others or managing your own business renting out security guards. You can then round out your career by becoming a physical security consultant and/or writing a book, "How to secure your small or mid-size business for pennies" (example).
* If you are a plumber, you will be an experienced plumber by the time you're 30 and can then start branching out and specializing. Maybe people really hate installing hot water heaters but you enjoy the precision it requires and get really good at it. By the time you're in your 40s, you may have a business that specializes in plumbing with regard to heaters. Eventually, you become a consultant for a television program and then write a book, "The illustrated guide to installing water heaters of all kinds."
* If you are a lawyer, doctor or architect, you will work for assholes until you have the choice about where to go. Most people are idiot proles who claw their way into these professions for the money, and end up hating themselves and others. These people do not ultimately succeed, although they do OK oftentimes. When you get the choice of firm to take, be aggressive and go for it. Find a hungry mid-size firm and eschew the big brain chewers. If you are a doctor, choice of hospital and even of partners in small practice is crucial. Here you can make the decision that determines if your life is pleasant or not.
* Computer "programmer" is a huge field. Most people in it are competent with details, and oblivious to the big picture. If you are any good as a programmer, then, expect to see yourself rapidly moving toward a specialization role where you manage or audit the activities or herds of programmers. Keep in mind that you can count on them to do nothing but the minimal and see nothing but the details, and to do it chaotically. Your job is to impose order. By the time you're 30, you will have had a series of brain-dead jobs in which the goal is to show up, write the code, and be absent for everything else. You may have an opportunity to specialize even earlier than that. I say go for it, but don't go all the way into it; keep your general skills fresh. Niches disappear. In ten years no one will care about Ruby.
No matter what you do, don't just puke out the front door and slop on down the sidewalk to work day after day and figure the world will reward you. Act like a cog, get treated like a cog, which means given no chance to show you have ability.
If you have no ability, go to work for the government as quickly as possible. - Self-help: Making Money?
Should upset some people.