Career Investments For Your Future: Readers Share Their Stories

Career Investments For Your Future: Readers Share Their Stories

Some people say finding a job is all about who you know. Some say it's about a great first impression. Some say it's about having a killer resume. We don't know the one, super secret trick that's sure to get you the job every time, but we do know that there are lots of ways to get ahead now for your future.

Last week, we told you all about three career investments you should make, adapted from Kimberly Palmer's new book, Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back. In light of her suggestions, we took to our Facebook and Twitter and asked you, our wonderful readers, what was the best career investment you ever made, and one winner received a copy of Palmer's new book*. You had some great examples of what to do on the job today that can really help you tomorrow! Here are your best responses:

*Jodi says…
If you ever become unhappy with your career, it will show in your work. (Think of how Joseph Gordon-Levitt's greeting cards went downhill in "(500) Days of Summer.") To change this, you don't have to throw everything out the window. Trying tweaking something in your career that irks you - can you better interact with your colleagues? Will getting your work done earlier lessen your stress? Maybe you're spreading yourself thin by trying to do everything - ask others to lend you a hand. If a bigger change is necessary, swallow your fear and follow your gut. Be courteous to others in the process, give them plenty of notice of your plans and don't just quit and then sit with nothing to do - have some sort of a plan for yourself, even if it is just taking some time to rest. It's impossible to throw yourself into a career (and expect happiness) when your heart can't join you, so don't deny what it's telling you.

Jessica says…
[My best career investment was] using my company's tuition assistance program to get a masters degree.

Judith says…
The best career investment I ever made? Oddly enough, I think that it was investing in gymnastics lessons as an adult. One of the first things that it taught me was how to take risks and how to to fall in such a way that I can get back up, learn from my mistakes, take on additional risk, and be able to fly even higher as a result of having gone through the process. I think that this is an invaluable less that one needs to learn if they are going to 'kick butt' in their career.

Allison says…
Working for free for for-profit and non-profit start-ups. The financial opportunity cost was huge but the contacts, skills and experience I have gained have been invaluable.

Sarah says…
[It] would have to be my car. Researched like crazy & got a great price. Otherwise, it'd be a 2hr bus ride each way to work!

Giovana says…
My best investment was to say yes to an opportunity that landed on my lap to come to the US for a translation project. Although my first 50 days here turned out to be a nightmare, these last 5 years meant invaluable personal and professional learning and growing, immersed in the culture and language that I've always worked with: English.

Rachel says…
The best investment I've made in my career was going to Mexico for a year to improve my Spanish. Now I'm in high demand for all kinds of projects!

Molly says…
Always make friends with the support staff, whether that's office services, IT, assistants, the mail room personnel, or the nightly cleaning people. When an emergency comes up, you will have already established a firm friendship, and they are always the ones who can help you the most! Plus, they're usually the coolest people in the office anyway!

Jeni says…
Best Career Advice came from my first "manager" at my first "real job" out of college... she said to keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. Learn from those that seem to be doing well and watch what they say, how they work and how they dress. Then spend some time with those people to ask candid questions and learn. I really grew a lot in that first year and have been working hard to continue that growth ever since.

Linda says…
Talking to a colleague about what certifications they have earned and what value they bring to them in the workplace.

*Congrats to Jodi, our winner!

We want to hear more! If you've made a savvy career investment, tell us about it in the comments.

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