This piece of advice comes from Jacob Richardson, a 30-year-old Service Manager at Schows Trucking in Salt Lake City, Utah, whom I met during a visit to his company. Right away, I was impressed by how much he had achieved in his career at such a young age. I asked him what was the secret to his success. He said, “I always say, ‘Yes.'” Wow, he had my attention. I asked him to tell me more. He shared a story about how, at one point early in his career, he had become very skilled at servicing heavy equipment, but found himself working in an equipment shop getting paid only $10 per hour to do entry-level work. Quickly, a few of the other mechanics recognized his skills, and at night they asked him to do some extra work with them. Not afraid to put in extra time, he found himself doing $30 per hour work for the same $10 per hour. Instead of being frustrated or being too proud to do it, he recognized that it was a great opportunity… and it was. As time went on, his supervisors and bosses recognized his skill and also his willingness to do whatever he could to help out the team. From that point on, his career took off, not just at that company, but a few others, where he applied the same approach, putting in the time to work hard and increase his skills, never obsessing over his hourly wage, and, in doing so, he quickly moved up the ladder as a worker, and then supervisor.
We all have opportunities that come along. A coworker, supervisor or boss may ask you if you can stay late or help out with something. At that moment, you have a choice. It’s up to you to make the right one. I don’t have a problem with people who know exactly what they are worth and are willing to fight for every cent. I understand that they feel entitled to it, given all the hard work that they have put in to acquire their career skill. But remember that a career is a partnership between an individual and all the other people that he or she has to interact with along the way. No one does it alone. By focusing first on being valuable to an employer and then later enjoying the reciprocal rewards of that value and appreciation by that employer can really help to launch your career.
Obviously, if someone asks you to do something dangerous, don’t say “yes,” but remember from Jacob’s story that the chance to push yourself further or to step outside your normal responsibilities is a big opportunity. Not only can you communicate your willingness to help out the team, but you will also have the chance to acquire, show-off, or improve your skills.
Take this advice from Jacob and let’s see how far we can take your trades career! And congrats to Jacob on his success!
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