Career Success Advice from The Ladders CEO

I’m a big fan of The Ladders.  For my money, it’s the best job search tool on the internet.  Recently, they launched a new service that guarantees you’ll find a job within six months if you follow their program.  So if you’re looking for a job, head on over to and see what they can do for you.

The Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella , writes a blog post every Monday.  This week’s post had some great career success advice, presented cleverly.  In part, it said…

There’s no storybook about “The Boy Who Followed Somebody Else’s Dream”, no movie rights sold for the tale of “It Wasn’t Within My Purview To Consider Alternatives”, no Sinatra tune entitled “I Did It The Way My Critics Requested I Do It”.

All the songs, all the movies, all the books say the same damn thing about you and your dream for a reason, Bud — because it’s true!

You’ll be on a stone slab someday too soon — far too soon — and your children will look at you and you’ll look at yourself, and you’re going to ask, and they’re going to ask, and wherever you are right now just do me a favor and… stop…and listen to the wind breathe.

And count the years between here and your birth; then count the years between here and death.

And count the words of your loved ones, and your family, and your friends, and your kids, and your own words in your own head about who you are and who you want to be and who you always wanted to be. And realize that that is beautiful. And that is what you were made for.

And count the words of the critics and naysayers and the negative people in your life and the words they’ve piled up like stones for you with their wants and their desires and their demands of you.

Count the piles and feel their weight and add them up and ask yourself a simple question.  Which one do you want to carry with you to the end? Which one do you want to carry for the rest of your days?

Which one is worthy of you?

I love this career advice.  Tweet 6 in my career success book Success Tweets says, “Make sure that your personal mission and vision are what you want – not what someone else wants for you.”

This is really important.  You need to live your own life and create your own career success.  Over the years, I have had way too many career success coach clients who felt as if they were trapped in careers that they didn’t really choose.  That’s not a good way to build career success.  You have to love what you do.  You have to be passionate about what you do.  This love and passion has to come from deep inside you.

This means that you need to choose the career you love – not what others want you to love.  Parents, friends and peers mean well when they try to steer you into a career they think is right for you.  But, parents, friends and peers are not you.  Only you know what’s best for you.

Many people apply to medical or law school because their parents want them to become a doctor or a lawyer.  However, after a year or two of school, or worse yet, a year or two of practice as a doctor or a lawyer, some of these people figure out that they aren’t living their life purpose, they’re living the life their parents want for them.  And, they have a mountain of student loan debt.  These folks become angry and bitter.  They spend a lifetime going through the motions, never really developing that sense of happiness and career success that comes from doing what they love and what they choose to do.

We all have to find our passion in life and pursue it.  I had a double major at Penn State, broadcast journalism and human development.  My senior year I had an internship at a television station in Scranton PA.  I did well in the internship.  As luck would have it, one of the reporters announced his plans to leave the station right about the time I was to graduate.  The News Director liked me and offered me a reporter job.  I was flattered and really tempted to take it.  This was a rare opportunity.  People coming out of college usually spend a few years in radio news prior to moving to TV.  Yet, I was lucky enough to receive an offer at a TV station right out of school.

However, there was one small problem.  I had already committed to doing a year of service as a VISTA Volunteer.  I could have backed out of that commitment, but my personal ethics wouldn’t let me do so.  I turned down the TV news job.  The News Director and my Journalism Advisor at Penn State did their best to convince me that this was a special opportunity and that there would be no guarantee that I would be able to secure a similar offer one year later.  They had my best interests in mind.  They wanted me to get off to a running start in the world of TV news.

I chose to stick to my commitment of a year of service.  And I’m glad I did.  That year of service opened my eyes to career possibilities I didn’t know existed.  After my year of service, I took a job that helped me identify my purpose in life – helping others grow and succeed.  To paraphrase Tweet 6 in Success Tweets, I made sure that my personal mission and vision were what I wanted – not what my professor, boss, and parents for that matter – wanted for me.

These people were all well-meaning.  My professor saw some promise in me.  He liked my writing style.  He thought I would be a great TV news writer.  Besides that, he saw his students’ work in the broadcast journalism field as part of his legacy.  The News Director saw an opportunity to fill a vacancy with a proven commodity.  My parents thought a “real job,” as opposed to a year of service, was better for me.

However, I had to decide.  And, I made the correct decision.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  As Marc Cenedella of The Ladders suggests, successful people look deep inside themselves to discover their purpose and direction in life.  They listen to, even solicit, advice from people they respect and trust.  But when it comes to creating their personal mission and vision and choosing their life’s work, they follow the career advice in Tweet 6 in Success Tweets: “Make sure that your personal mission and vision are what you want – not what someone else wants for you.”  It’s your life and your career.  You have to live it.  You have to create your career success.  That’s why you have to choose your personal mission and vision based on what’s right for you – not what other people think is right for you.  Other people, particularly those close to you, have your best interests at heart.  That’s why you should listen to what they have to say; but you need to make the final decision on your life’s work on your own.  That’s the first step in taking personal responsibility for your life and career success.

That’s the career advice I found in Marc Cenedella’s blog post earlier this week.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


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  1. Your best post, ever, Bud. I really enjoyed this one.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind comments Lynne. I really appreciate them. What did you like so much about this post?
    All the best,

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