Career Advice from a Boston Terrier
It is no surprise that I am a crazy dog and cat lady. My husband and I are outnumbered by furry creatures in our household, we wouldn’t have it any other way. And even though they are just pets, we learn a lot of life, and even career, lessons from them.
Our household has two humans, two dogs, and one cat. It’s a full house for sure. The longest pet resident is our Boston Terrier, Oscar. We’ve had him for a little over four years now, and he’s the light of our life. We got a cat, Zelda, a year ago, and then added a stray pup, Yin Yang, into the mix this summer. To say Oscar runs the house is the understatement of the century. To say the girls hate him is the second understatement of the century.
Oscar is a lone wolf. He tolerates Zach and me, but just barely. He doesn’t play well with others, and if you asked him how many other pets roamed the home front, he’d look at you incredulously, like this:
and say “None, it is just me, dumbie.” To him, he is the star and the only dog that matters in the world.
While Oscar doesn’t have the best personality, and it not going to win “Most Popular” superlative anytime soon, his attitude offers a lot of important lessons. I’m pretty sure if Oscar was a human, he’d be a crazy successful CEO. Why? What the heck kind of traits a dog have that a successful human should have?
Here are the three traits Oscar has, that you should adopt in the workplace.
3.) Have a tenacious work ethic.
Once Oscar puts his mind to something, he is a force of nature to be reckoned with. He was five when we got him, so was used to eating human food on the reg. This created a wonderful habit of him sitting right beside us while we eat, and lunging at the food as we move it from plate to mouth.
Despite the past four years of his evil genius plans to steal our food being thwarted, he still runs to our side whenever it is dinner time. He watches us like a hawk as we eat, and is convinced one day, that human food will be his. This little terrier doesn’t give up on his dreams, which in this case, is eating human food.
There have been many projects or tasks handed to me at work and in life that felt impossible. I have wanted to quit my job, this blog, and countless other goals more times than I count. During my job hunt, I was rejected more time than Oscar was denied table scraps in his entire life.
It is so easy to throw in the towel, and give up on your career and on your dreams, but just think: What Would Oscar The Boston Do? He’d stick to his goals, no matter the resistance he encounters.
2.) Be Bold.
Oscar has never met a stranger. In fact, when he sees people walking down the street, he assumes their one life purpose is to pet him. And if people come over, he runs to greet them, tries to sit on their lap, and makes them play ball with him. He is a social butterfly and assumes everyone loves him. His confidence is one thing I am jealous of.
At my first job out of college, I negotiated nothing, asked for nothing, and was too shy to even ask to use my PTO days. I took ONE vacation day in over the year and a half I was there, even though I had a whole week to use. I am not bold at all. On top of that, I was always too shy to brag about myself and highlight my work. I hated my first job out of college, but I was good it.
I’ve done a little bit better on not being shy at my current job. I make sure upper management knows me (for good things, of course!), I let my boss know when I or someone else on my team does something awesome, and I’m not shy about asking for help. This has helped my stats at work be consistently in the top 5.
Be more like Oscar at your job. Don’t be shy, be bold, assume everyone loves you, negotiate, and highlight your’s and your coworker’s successes. Ask for what you want, even if it is an uncomfortable conversation. Being skittish in your career won’t get you anything. Be bold.
1.) Ignore the Haters.
Ready for a truth bomb? Not everyone is going to love you.
I know, that truth hurts. You’re awesome, funny, kind and smart. But there is always going to be people who just don’t care for you. When I first started my job, there was a group of girls that loathed me entirely. On the first day, they were already making snide remarks to me and would roll their eyes at anything I had to say. Ouch! My feelings were so hurt. There are also a few people in upper management that didn’t care much for me, and man, that’s a tough pill to swallow!
Our girls don’t care for Oscar, and as hard as it is to believe, some of my (now ex) friends didn’t love Oscar. How does he handle this? Easy! He completely ignores the other pets and any human that doesn’t pet him or let him on their lap after a few minutes. Like mentioned above, if you asked Oscar how many pets lived here, he’d just think it was him. In fact, he has been known to sit on our cat. That is just how little regard he has for her! He assumes she’s just another spot on the couch or on the carpet.
It is so hard to accept people don’t like you, especially at work where being liked can help you get promotions and more money. Just remember there will always be people who don’t like you, no matter what you change about yourself. You cannot please everyone. But ignore the haters, and don’t dull your sparkle or work ethic just to appease others.
As Dumbledore so wisely said, “Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time”
Career Lessons From a Dog?
Sure, it sounds silly to look to your dog for career advice, but our little guy is filled with wisdom. Starting your career, a new job, or embarking on a career change is terrifying. It is even more difficult to be successful and rock your job when you have a poor work ethic, refuse to be bold, or focus on making sure everyone likes you.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever heard?