Career Advice From the Future

The best career advice is always the simplest one:  Our values drive our career choices, our performance, as well as our overall happiness.  Our values also determine our reputation and shape who we become over time.  So how can we articulate our values so that they drive our career decision making?

AARP found an interesting way to look into the values system of  young people (between the ages of 18 and 30).  During their 2008 U @ 50 contest, they asked these young people to submit short videos on YouTube about what they expect their lives to be like at age 50.  Note that these videos were produced before the Great Global Recession.  Independent of the economic climate, these videos are filled with amazing career advice for anyone looking to build a responsible career do get business done better!

For instance, see below the 'Lost Generation' video submitted by Jonathan Reed from Georgia State University.  The video, which won 2nd place in the contest, does an outstanding job at reminding us of what is truly important when we think about how our career fits into our life.  It also reminds us that the trade-offs we accept to make between our career and our life are choices that we make.  Most importantly, this video reminds us that our choices have consequences, and engages us in reflecting upon the choices we have everyday as aspiring responsible professionals and global citizens:

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First place was awarded to Ilya Polyakov from Emerson College.  Her video provides insights into the tension that young people feel exist between doing well and doing good:

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From these videos we can gather several pieces of important responsible career advice from the future:

Career Advice #1: Your career is about more than money - Generating an income to meet your financial obligations is key, but your salary does not determine your value as a professional or as an individual.  For discussion on money-driven careers and alternatives that exist to move past the 'money only' framework, see previous justmeans posts here, here and here.

Career Advice #2:  You can do well while doing good - There are more opportunities now to make good money while having a positive social and environmental impact on our world.  Whether you work in one of our Justmeans companies, for a Benefit Corporation, or for an  L3C, you will be able to generate a decent income while maximizing your social impact and minimizing your environmental impact.

Career Advice #3:  Start today - There is lots of evidence showing that the longer you stay on a path, the lower the probability that you will find the strength to change your career.  So if you currently are in a job that you don't find meaningful or fulfilling, start taking steps to make a move.  This does not mean that you need to quit today, but it means that you can take small actions today that can help you make a move in the future.  For ideas on how to do so, see previous justmeans posts here, here, and here.

With laptops, smart phones and companies operating on a global scale, we are experiencing less and less separation between our careers and our lives.  Actually different careers are increasingly becoming lifestyles, a trend that is unlikely to change.  Therefore, the more you can pursue careers that align with your values, the more value you will add and the happier you will be.

What are the values that have had an impact on your career choices?  What do you wish you would have known starting our that you would like young professionals to know?  Let's discuss your responsible career advice to young professionals!

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