Recently I came across some results from a blogging colleague who had surveyed his readers regarding some of their biggest regrets. I’ve been holding off on publishing this for sometime because I stupidly lost the link and therefore can’t credit it … so if anyone recognizes this, please shoot me a note straightaway and I’ll recognize your work.
Meanwhile, these are some of the responses. that rally rang true to me, especially with my interests in:
- Living in the Philippines
- Empowering Your Own retirement
- Preparing Yourself to Stand On Your Own Two Feet
… I REGRET THAT: “…I stayed in jobs for too long that I hated…”
“I regret that in my 20′s I stayed in jobs for too long that I hated. I focused too much on one single factor when pursuing new jobs: salary. It would have been smarter to pursue a position where I had an interest and passion for. There was no vetting process. I’ve realized that money is one factor but not the only factor.” – Nick
Nick is so right. I don’t know how many people contact me for information about alternative jobs, or write and tell me how they want to retire so desperately, but they can’t because any alternative form of income is probably going to mean less money.
What a thought for your own tombstone.
Here Lies Joe, in His Whole Life He Eraned $xxx,xxx,xxx Dollars
Is that how the world is going to remember you?
… I REGRET THAT: “…My own psychological barriers and fears set me back years…”
“I wish that 4 years ago when I realized I wanted to make a career change and go into psychology, I hadn’t been deterred by the application process…. My own psychological barriers and fears set me back years.” – Erin
Deterred by the application process? Yep, it’s acommon story, Erin. Many people tell me how they want to move to the Philippines or sponsor their Philippine Sweetheart for a fiancée’ Visa or some other common task but they CAN’T because there is “So Much Paperwork”.
Come on folks, that’s just a bogus excuse for wanting more time to watch Desperate Housewives or the latest UFC bout. There’s nothing about moving to the Philippines or even going back to college or starting a website or any other common endeavor like that which will take more than a couple hours, diligently applied.
What the hell are you afraid of? Rejection? I got news for you. If you don’t apply, you are already “Rejected”.
… I REGRET THAT: “…I didn’t know what the hiring managers and HR people were looking for…”
“I wish I had done MORE HOMEWORK on the career I wanted to follow and had KNOWN TO NETWORK VERY EARLY. I ended up not knowing how early the recruiting was for internships in my desired fields and didn’t know what the hiring mangers and HR people were looking for…. I felt a little betrayed by my schools career development office – but have realized that I am the only person that is 100% looking out for me and my career. I’ve got to go make it happen.” – Matt
This one is particularly important to the steady stream of folks who come here looking for a job and especially those who write me for help. The sad fact is, about 99% of the people who write me do not deserve a job.
Oh, hard words? Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. They tell me, “I’m not qualified for much, but I’ll work for peanuts” …words to that effect. I’ll let you in on a little secret. If I were giving out jobs and if I had any jobs that “only paid peanuts”, I wouldn’t hire anyone with that attitude. Why?
Because they are going nowhere in life, that’s why. If I were to hire anyone, even at the lowest, entry-level, I only want to hire someone with ideas, goals and ambition. Otherwise? Just sell pencils on the street corner …you’re of more use to me there.
Just the other day I had a nice long chat with a young woman in a first-line supervisory position with a large BPO company (many peole call them “call centers” but the fo so much more) here in the Philippines. It’s an international firm, one that you would recognize immediately if I told you even the initials. This company has many, many foreigners working side-by-side with their Filipino employees. I asked this woman what she thought the number one tip would be to get hired. Her response:
“Don’t tell them you only want an entry-level position as a call center agent. Filipino or foreigner they are looking for people who want to attain success, not collect a salary. It’s fine to accept an entry-level position, but have a plan, from the beginning, to go farther”
There it is, straight from the mouth of one who has been through the process, right here in the Philippines.
… I REGRET THAT: “…underpaid among my peers and industry…”
“I wish I had been more proactive in negotiating my salary through my nine year career at my current company instead of just taking what was offered, despite the fact that I deliver the goods (documented high performance), and this has resulted in me being underpaid among my peers and industry.” – Chris
Are you underpaid today? Chances are the answer is yes. I’ve written many times about how regular jobs, are in most cases, a great big losing proposition. It’s a pretty well-recognized business rule of thumb that an employee produces about 3 times what his or her salary is toward the company’s bottom line.
So even if you have a nice job … say you are making $100,000 a year and living good … you really are having your pocket picked and smiling all the way. Read this about why you should probably never have a job, and then, if you still want to be a “salary slave”, demand what you are worth. Don’t live your life as a “Patsy” for the long-term goal of “security”. In today’s world, “jobs” and “security” no longer go together.
I REGRET THAT: “…I now feel trapped by my career…”
“I wish I would have been more active in pursuing a position in a field I am interested in. After completing my bachelor of economics, I moved into an entry-level job at an insurance home office. I have remained at this company gaining minor promotions with a realistic trajectory towards middle management. Nearing my eighth anniversary, I now feel trapped by my career.” – Jason
OK, more than a thousand words about “regrets”. Enough already. Do you notice a pattern here? I do.
All these folks seem to talk about are things they did or didn’t do in the past.
Whatever you did or didn’t do in the past is over and done with. Forget about it, it can’t be changed, it can’t be excused away and, most importantly, it has nothing to do with what you can do NOW, starting today.
If you want a better future, then stop regretting the past and take action here and now. The past is done and gone, the future is (and always will be) an unknown, today is all we have to work with.
It’s our gift, that’s why we call it the “present”. Godspeed.