The Best Career Advice I Ever Received

For the first time in my career I can say, "I love my job."

I mean, I have liked jobs I've held prior to this one. But they were take-it-or-leave-it kind of positions. I wasn't committed to any of them. And it showed.

I remember taking an internship while I was still in college. The excitement of being in a large newsroom and being surrounded by pros with decades worth of experience was exhilarating. But I felt like a small fish in a big pond. So I confided in one of the directors, who promptly gave me this advice:
Surround yourself with people you trust.
From that moment on, those words followed me throughout my career.

There have been co-workers who were kind and funny. But did I really trust them? Would I tell them details about my personal life? Heck, was I even willing to share my frustrations about work?

Of course not. And when push came to shove, I couldn't rely on these people to have my back.

This posed a problem. I began to trust no one. And that insecurity was masked with bravado. I was mean. I was angry. I refused to show vulnerability. Weakness was out of the question.

But I knew I couldn't do this on my own. I couldn't grow my career alone. So I turned to alcohol. My inflated sense of self made me believe I could do my work, and do it better than anyone else. But really it simply made me a big jerk. I didn't underestimate my worth; I overestimated my value.

When I decided I might have a problem, I was positive I didn't want to get sober. I was certain what would happen if I did. My job relied on creativity, and I would definitely lose it. I needed drive, and that motivation would undoubtedly disappear. So again, I proved my distrust of others and lied to everyone - including myself - about my alcoholism and mental illness.

As time passed, I knew I couldn't continue this way. So I came to accept that I did need to others. I didn't want to be the asshole at work that no one cared for. I wanted to trust and be trusted.

And that brings me to today.

I am writing from my home office, working for people I care for and know they care for me and my daughter. I trust they want to see me succeed, that they are not out to get me. I genuinely want to see the team succeed, the business succeed. I am proud of where I work, and they are proud of my work.

I trust them.

Thinking back, that piece of advice was so true. You should surround yourself with those you trust. Because they are the ones that will help you persevere.

To read more about my journey in recovery, click here.


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