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Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Eduation, Professor Robert J. Sternberg reflects on the fact that he once thought the life of a successful academic was both pleasant and uneventful. What he learned is that even tenured professors experience their ups and downs -- from which, he culled several pieces of career advice that apply to any occupation, including:
1. It's not enough to be smart; you also have to be resilient.
"The main characteristic that makes people successful is not their IQ, emotional
intelligence, or even creativity," Sternberg writes. "It is their resilience in the face of what seem to be insurmountable obstacles."
Considering how many obstacles are likely to present themselves in any career, this makes sense. It the first road block you hit throws you off course, you're not going to reach the finish line.
2. Build a support network.
This is the real reason networking is important. Your network will help you do everything from find a new job to mourn the loss of the old one. Having a supportive group of friends to catch you when you fall is necessary, whether you're a college professor or a plumber.
3. Don't seek vengeance.
Your old boss was evil and blamed you for things that were beyond your control, or your colleague was selfish and used up all your time, making you unable to put in your best work. Whatever the case, don't spend time and energy trying to get back at the folks who sabotaged your job. Learn from your experience, and move on.
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