“Don’t let ambition get ahead of opportunity” and other words of wisdom that make sense this year, too
For us members of the workforce, taking the New Year head-on entails some form of introspection. We take mental notes of last year’s blunders we swear to learn from. If feeling brave and a little ambitious, we set our sights on new ventures. Starry-eyed, we brim with excitement over a crisp list of career goals 2.0.
Still fresh in our memories though are the events from 2020. It’s no fun recounting how this dumpster fire of a year disrupted work plans, work relationships and work life in general. But coming out the other side, there’s no denying that last year scared us (maybe even scarred us) into looking carefully, critically into and beyond our careers like our lives depended on it. Because for some of us, it did.
Weeding out what works from what doesn’t, what’s fluff from what’s realistic, we checked in with working Millennials to ask about career advice they’re glad they took in 2020.
Toni Potenciano, 29
Writer & Strategist, And A Half Design Studio
A mentor/editor of mine told me that I need to “write with blood.” I think I never really knew what that meant up until I started writing for myself instead of writing from a brief or for clients. The few things I wrote in 2020 and were published were often products of really just putting my whole mind and body into writing them. It’s both fulfilling and emptying. I love writing and I dread it, ever since I heard about writing with blood. It’s changed my view as a writer.
Mikko Tung, 37
Entrepreneur, Odd Job Bob
The best career advice I received came from my wife. As someone who has been in the startup world her entire career, my wife sat me down. She told me to not let failures and setbacks discourage me, and to have faith in myself and my vision. She simply told me not to be afraid. In 2020, I launched my own startup, Odd Job Bob, a property management and construction company. Today, I still run the business with some fear, hesitation, and doubt, but I now also have faith in myself, and trust in the vision of the company and brand. And as any entrepreneur today can attest, you can’t find success without a little faith and trust.
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Hans Allí, 29
Managing Director, Dthree Digital
The best advice I learned is to accept the fact that a person can only do so much. If you can delegate tasks and ask for help, please do. Trust, communication, and readiness to help colleagues are so much more important than raw individual abilities.
My parents and I had this conversation over lunch. They both also handle their respective businesses and professional practices and were greatly affected by the pandemic. With so much going on, all the mental stress and its internal effects within our company, we needed to tackle issues as a community and to trust the input of our colleagues.
Jenica Magquilat, 27
Video Producer, ONE Championship
When our goals are not met and we base these on a timeline we set for ourselves, we get frustrated, we get demotivated. In my years in media production, I learned the great value of patience. If it’s not our time to shine, it’s not our time—not yet. Being impatient with career growth won’t do us any good. I know it sounds cliché, but resigning ourselves to patience humbles us and makes us embrace our own pace. Last year, I read a book about Disney CEO Robert Iger’s lessons in creative leadership where he says, “Don’t let ambition get ahead of opportunity.” It’s straightforward yet significant. It teaches us to appreciate and value where we are at present, and not to dismiss the fact that we are all a work in progress.
What career advice were you glad you took in 2020? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver