“Do your job like you are going to do it for the rest of your life”

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One more from the Reinventing America Summit from Forbes. Mary Barra, CEO of GM,  gave the keynote speech and one of her comments has stuck with me. it was advice for young professionals — and good for any age — but particularly relevant in these graduation days!

Own the job. Do it like you are going to do it for the rest of your life. Talk to your supervisor about what you are DOING. The person always asking, “What is next?” “When is the next promotion?” is not doing the best at the job they are in. Do your best on the job you are in and good things will happen.”

This doesn’t mean you have to do it for the rest of you life. It means the best way to move forward is to kickass at the job you are in. Be awesome at NOW to get you to the NEXT.

I also thought this was interesting. To the point. Switch around and do get different experiences.

Get breadth and depth early on in your career. It sets you up for success. Take broadening assignments that will allow you to understand the industry you are in and how to lead. Seize opportunities for mentoring.”

For more  early career wisdom,  some relevant “what I wish I knew then” reflections from our 40-something panel:

Decide when you start your career to do the best you can do with the job you have. You have to want it.” – 40-something, Los Angeles, CA

Consider that maybe it’s okay to work hard to get what you want. A career is not about instant gratification, it’s a relationship.” – 40-something, Orange County, CA

If you are doing something that you want to do or on the path to doing that, you have to work harder than anybody else. You need to establish yourself where you are and make it your priority. It shouldn’t just be a stepping stone.” – 40-something, Chicago, IL

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