My financial career started when I was still studying full-time for my Bachelor degree. I got an opportunity to take a managerial role at a Swiss bank.

It was a challenge to combine full-time studies with work. But over the long term, if you do this, these efforts pay out some hefty dividends. You do not just gain lots of handy insights on how to – and how not, too – run a commercial organization. But you also get to know how to work in a team.

Career lesson #3: Go for knowledge and skills rather than just money

At the beginning of your career, you should not be naïve to expect being paid in golden bars while having your own secretary, a car, and a private jet. These are not really my words: Bill Gates himself advises anyone at the early career to learn skills and add value to companies first. The money will follow. So instead, ask everyone within your office for advice, or better yet – to show you how things are done. Soon enough you will notice that people will be approaching you for advice. Once this is happening, you can be sure this is the moment when your career growth starts.

Career lesson #2: Firing employees is harder than hiring them

It might seem easy to say “You’re fired!” in a Donald Trump’s way to someone who does a bad job. Although it is necessary to “shoot the dogs” to keep positive and effective team dynamics, it is not a trivial task. Companies are really picky when they hire a new worker. And this is one of the main reasons why they are doing this.  Otherwise, it will result in lots of emotional and psychological struggle for an employer if a promising candidate eventually does not fit into the corporate environment.

I realized this when I was looking for prospective colleagues to join my department. I had to make a decision to fire an employee myself (who I actually recommended to join the organization). It was not a pleasant experience. It did not affect my reputation within the company, it affected my relationship with the person I recommended. Another lesson learned.

However, in a startup environment, having the right people on board is even more vital. Compared to established companies, the cost of making such mistake puts a survival of the company at stake.

Career lesson #1: If you don’t ask, the answer is “no”

This is a universal principle, but it can be applied both to the professional and personal lives. Eventually, you are the master of your own life, not just career. If you are not satisfied with some aspects of your work, tell it. Got tasks that bother you? Tell the manager about. Didn’t dare to ask for your long-awaited promotion? Ask for it.

For example, take charge by discussing these matters with your manager first. If you deliver the performance, you are a great team member. And if the senior management is pragmatic enough (it has to be unless it wants to go out of business), it will meet you half way.

The floor is yours…

These are not the only career tips that I gained during my tenure. But I would find these were the most valuable for me. What career lessons did you learn? What would you advise your peers or your apprentices? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


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