10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career.

A dream career is pervasive promising hard work and endurance will grant wealth and achievements to anyone. What happens when your view of professional success fails.

Is there a hope that overcomes this unreliable, mistakenly trusted world view on career success?  

To find out let’s begin…

  1. It all begins after graduation from college

Looking back exactly 29 years ago, I’d discovered it all begins after college. 

You will be given an equal opportunity to define your future - but only YOU can do that.

 I got married to my wife for 29 years already before I even graduated from my degree. I learned my lessons the hard way.

I learned that if you only put your heart and your mind into it anything you want in life is possible.

Moreover, your result does not determine the school, honor, or recognition you receive during your college days.

What matters is the "training and education" you will acquire later on as you move on to achieve your career and personal goals; this is critically important.

On the other hand, most stop learning, which is detrimental to a progressive and competent career environment especially in a generation of Millenials.

  1. Build a firm foundation in your profession.

To build a strong foundation in your career path should only take 1-5 years maximum- meaning the faster the better.

Take note of four (4) levels of your career as you move on. 

Level 1. Development phase (0-5 years)

Level 2. Production phase (5- 10 years)

Level 3. Managerial phase (10-15 years)

Level 4. Career Diversification phase ( 15 years and above)

If you are on spot,  congratulations. But if you are behind run don’t walk to catch up with your career regression.

Start your career in project management training in this link Project Management Training for Beginner's

It took me a lot of years to stay in a position that I believe set a strong foundation but unknowingly trapped for a period of time called the comfort zone.

It was a waste of time doing things repeatedly; the long term effect was a BIG mistake.

Developing a career foundation, for example in the construction industry would require one or two good projects. Then move on to the next career level.

If you are a project manager, a senior engineer, or a site engineer/architect then think about where you can be in greater opportunities like a challenging project considering the return on human capital.

So I have to accumulate long years of experience the hard way, no short cuts. 

But not anymore when you can learn from those who have done it already...go to the link below for advanced training in project management:

  1. Watch out that One (1) great opportunity and grab it.

An opportunity come and go.

Though there are few of them, they are hardly recognized because it appears as difficult and bigger than your capability to handle it.

Successful professionals have come to a turning point in their careers one way or the other.  Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise and mine was exactly that way.

I was offered the position of a project manager when I was twenty-eight years old (28) after the senior project managers rejected the offer of our president for a medium to a big project.

So, I began my career in project management as an “Accidental Project Manager” - meaning I did not choose to be but fortunately nominated by our top management.

  1. Identify Your Short and Long Term Career Goals.

You must have a clear view of how you are going to start, progress, and ultimately achieve your professional goals.

What is your vision for your profession? Where do you want to go from where you are to where you want to be.

What is your short-term goal for this year?

Example: from a site engineer or office engineer becoming a senior engineer.

How can you connect your short-term goal with your long-term professional goals?

Example: from a senior engineer to become a project manager.

Or senior engineer to become an executive manager or leader, Or start your construction business, why not?

You get what you spend your time doing.

Keep moving ahead with your short term goal to achieve your long term professionals goals. It's a sure way leading to success in your career and personal life.

Choose how to start, manage projects, and become competent in Project Management from the expert with the following training…

Check this link for the Instructor Profile & Professional Certifications

  1. Be ready for career set back it normally happened several times.

You must be ready for a career setback, because whether you like it or not, it's coming and it will happened several times with varying degree!

With my 29 years of experience as an engineer – both employed national and currently abroad (UAE), I have witnessed multiple crises in my life.

While working abroad the economic crisis worldwide in 2008; the oil crisis in 2014-15 where more than 50% price reduction of the price of oil per barrel (from $ 140 to $60); [Not to mention the world crises from 1988- 2007, the period I started to work and stop working nationally].

Now the ongoing health crises which devastated all countries have spared no one.

And millions of job losses due to this Covid 19 pandemic; for the Philippines alone according to Secretary Bello of Department of Labor, 10 million jobs will be lost by December 2020 alone.

My observation, it seems crises come and go at the rate of every 5-7 years – what are you going to do about it as it impact your profession negatively far more than you thought possible?

Therefore, big and small businesses closed down, and millions of jobs lost.

Employees who can provide massive value to the company, performance using skills and knowledge to top management, and effort of prime importance to each level of the organization will stay.

  1. Upgrade your knowledge, skills, and requirements in your specific profession continually.

Most professionals think that as long as you are actively employed your skills will be developed over time.

But skills gain through experience is NOT enough. Let me share you this:

Because they are normal occurrences and can be accumulated over time by every practitioner. In addition, it is where the pack of professionals around 80-90% the most.

So if you want to be part of the 20-10 % in your field, you must adopt a never-ending career progression.

Then, it will be way easier to navigate your career path since fewer and lesser competition within this space.

You need to separate yourself to be irreplaceable in your field with the right training for your profession to remain competent. It adds value and competitiveness in your professional field.

Most professionals never try to upgrade and contended to have a job and that's fine if this is your thinking, but you will get the same results.

If you are not intentional, however, and to rely on the number of years with the company or seniority as a form of promotion is a stressful and uncomfortable condition nowadays.

Having a unique career is demonstrated by preparation, skill set, and effort.

  1. You can achieve any professional goal you set for yourself as long as you put your heart and mind, and your effort into it.

Set a career goal greater than yourself.

Many professionals such as engineers, architects, and graduates ask what is the appropriate training to take.

A fresh graduate wants to take advanced training like the Certified Project Manager or the Project Manager Course.

Some have done that so they will gain benefits and professional advantage early in their career towards the future.

An experienced engineer, meanwhile, with 10 years accumulated experience wants to start with Project Management for Beginners”; it’s okay knowing, later on, they will proceed with the advanced training which they critically need. 

What’s wrong is to never start with anything - instead excuses - someday I’ll do this, someday I do that until time and age will NOT allow them anymore.

Guys, that's NOT for you.

The value you will get with the right training can position you for greater opportunity.

To get you promoted faster, triple your income in less time, and adds value to your organization, therefore longer employability.

  1. Be an entrepreneur

If you think you are good enough and because you find a dead-end in your employment, ask your boss if he can give you a  top management role where you can run his business/es or part of it.

If he says yes, then good for the company. If he says NO, then get out and run your own business period.

Most intrapreneur can be a successful entrepreneur.

Think this way if you’re still starting with your career or around it and figure out exactly how to do it while you are still there running other’s company.

  1. Always look for opportunities and explore it.

Explore ways to do better in every way.

If you have been employed with a company, running your own business, or working abroad always think about how you continually improve.

Go back and review items 1 to 8 on how to gain an advantage whatever your career circumstances.

  1. Thank God for all he has done for your career both successes and failures.

 I’ve always thanked the Lord every day for He lacks nothing for us. In Lamentations 3: 21-23 writes,

The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

How encouraging is it that God pours out His love for us that His mercies are new every day. A living hope that defines not only our physical and emotional needs but spiritual needs - eternity. 

Our contentment, however,  is not found in the things of this world, but in God’s constant and consistent mercy - His saving grace. 


In Summary

No one prepared you for the crisis we're in today.

You can be ready, however, for what your career will look like once this is all over. 

So take courage. Only you can change the direction and result of your future.

Now is the right time to just do it and getting ready and over-prepare in every stage of your career is the key. It should be your "new normal" to be successful.

I wish I knew these 10 things when I started my career years ago. It should have been a lot easier than my career path painstakingly difficult.

What story you will tell about your career once this crisis is over?


Thank you for taking the time to read.


To your career success,

Marlon Frando, MBA, PMP, CMQ/OE

Questions? Email to [email protected]

 P.S. Start, manage projects, and become competent in Project Management with the following training…

Check this link for the Instructor Profile & Professional Certifications

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