I recently heard two folk singers inadvertently provide excellent career advice at Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY, the longest running coffee house in America.
Roy Book Binder, who’s been on the folk circuit for about 40 years, sang these 4 gems:
1) “I wish I knew back then what I know now.”
I’ve used a variation of this line myself when looking back at mistakes I made early in my career. I bet you have also.
The issue is what do we do with the knowledge now that we have it. Some people seem to repeat their mistakes so they really don’t know any more now than they did back when they first started making the mistakes.
As you become more experienced, you’re paid to make fewer mistakes and certainly to not repeat those you’ve already made.
This positive message embedded in a blues song is a good thought for all of us to remember when things are tough. Next time the boss is mean; the client is ridiculous; or the interview goes badly, we should all remember that “it’s going to be alright some day,” even though it’s not OK right now.
3) “It pays to believe.”
It’s hard to be successful if you don’t believe the outcome will be positive.
4) “Before you move your lips, you should know what you’re going to say.”
Good advice, regardless of the situation. Whether you’re selling a product or yourself during a job search, what you don’t say may be more important than what you do. I know there have been many times when I tried to push some words back into my mouth just after blurting them out. Obviously, this didn’t work.
Interviewers and bosses always seem to remember what you said that you wish you hadn’t.
Today, perhaps this lyric should be adapted to: “Before you hit send, you should know what you’ve typed.
Opening act Phil Minissale added one more thought when he sang “You bring what you got to the table.”
This is a simple but powerful idea: Do your best.