2019 HBCU Careers Magazine

HBCU Careers Magazine

The Four Tenets of a Fulfilled, Impactful Career

By: Dr. Mike Ammons Director, Raleigh-Durham Adult Studies Campus North Carolina Wesleyan College

Americans are workers, further proof of this statement is confirmed by recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics where, on average, employees work 47 hours per week. In some industries, it peaks at over 60 hours per week. But, with simple multiplication, you can surmise that over the course of 30 years, the total time spent at work is more than 70,000 hours, equal- ing more time than you spend with family, sleeping, and engaged in your hobbies. However, despite these numbers, it pales in comparison to Elon Musk, Tesla and Space X acclaim, who worked over 100 hours a week for more than 15 years.

However, we are living in an age where the traditional model of work has been resigned and reshaped to mean something totally different from what it was 30 years ago when I started my first job at the local grocery store Piggly Wiggly. Especially from what it was when my parents earned their first wages literally by the sweat of their brow as a field hand for their sharecropper parents. Employees today are looking for more than a paycheck as work is not a grind, but rather, a venue in which individuals can deploy their skills in such as way that contributes to making the world a better place. With this in mind, I would like to share with you four tenets to help guide you throughout your career. Be True to Yourself In general, people wish you well and often make the following statement encouraging you to do things in your best interest - “If I was you I would (fill in the blank here”. If you are a talkative person, you may hear that you need to listen more. Conversely, if you are an active listener, you may hear you need to talk more. The lesson here is that whatever you are, be more of that, because that is an indicator that you have natural innate abili- ties that need to be capitalized on. You need to know your sweet spots, areas in which you are able to highlight your abilities. Coach Wooten, highly successful basketball coach at UCLA, observed his players during practice, taking note of the areas on the court in which they made the majority of their shots. Based on this data, he created designed plays so players can take these shots during actual games, informing them that these spots were the only locations they could shoot. You see, he knew who is players were and put them in situations where they could be suc- cessful. I am reminded of the now famous Saturday Night Live skit where we find comedian Will Ferrell, playing the role of a musician in a recording studio, where he is giving the producer more cow bell. While this is his only contribution to the other highly talented artists, he is fully committed to adding value where he can, while remaining aligned with who he is. I encourage you to find your “cow bell” moments.


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