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Who are Responsible for Our Success?

Our teachers, folks, and friends told us we were great, and we believed them. They gave us a rah-‘rah speech about what to expect from the job market. Parents often paint fantasies based upon what they would have liked for themselves, while college career counselors excel at giving advice based upon hearsay. Many of these esteemed career counselors have only worked within the hallowed halls of academia. No wonder we launch our careers with skewed information about the work world.

We venture into the real world all pumped up expecting the seas to part as the world breathlessly awaits our arrival. Boy, are we surprised! Our school's career counselors never told us a real job would be like this. Getting used to hard work is difficult enough, but nobody told us we'd have to deal with bosses who were former executioners and serial killers. It's time for a reality check and two pieces of precious advice.

Critical Advice worth Memorizing

Tip 1: Make No Assumptions about a Job: That Includes Everything from Company Culture to Boss and Coworkers. It's normal to have expectations and fantasies, but don't be shattered if they're not met. The more tuned in you are to the people you work with, the better you'll be able to deal with inconsistencies.

Fact: Workers with a high emotional IQ are more likely to make healthy and speedy adjustments. If you remember your Psychology 101 class, the emotional IQ is a better predictor of success than intellectual IQ. The latter only indicates how good you are with abstract, mathematical, and reading skills.

The former predicts how successfully you will integrate yourself into new situations and get along with people. People with high emotional IQs learn how to read people more accurately. In this competitive world, that translates to a priceless talent. Once you get an accurate reading on a person, you will know how to play that person and position yourself for a successful relationship.

While some of us are blessed with supportive relationships that build high emotional IQs early in life, the rest of us must work at it so we learn how to read the right signals and act accordingly. As any shrink will tell you, the only thing stopping most of us from succeeding is ourselves. That sobering piece of truth made Napoleon Hill, author of the timeless Think and Grow Rich, a very wealthy man. When we don't accept it, we blame others. It's a less painful way out.

Tip 2: Be As Tough As Your Boss, or Even Better, Be Tougher Than Your Boss. While this sounds good, it may not apply all the time. If you have learned anything so far, it's that bosses are just like the rest of us. They're imperfect human beings trying to make it in an imperfect world. Some are tough; others are weak. You may not be tougher than your boss, but you're certainly as tough, which is all you need to thrive in most jobs. You are a player, and a critical one at that.
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