Five More Career Tips I Learned from Willy Wonka

My blog post a few weeks back “Five Career Tips I Learned from Willy Wonka” was so popular that I wrote a follow-up. So here’s more career tips derived from everybody’s favorite candy maker. Enjoy!

Tip #1 — A small step for mankind, but a giant step for us.
Keeping a fresh, creative outlook on how your department operates or how your company performs any task could have huge benefits for you. You don’t have to be a logistics expert to make your department more efficient. Being a problem solver and “thinking outside the box” by finding different ways of doing any task, especially if the changes cost less or make better use of current resources, helps you reap those benefits. After all, it doesn’t take a wide-eyed chocolatier to realize that no one has seen it all, especially in today’s ever-changing workplace. Fostering innovation in your company will only help your superiors see you for the leader you dream of becoming.

Tip #2 — It happens every time, they all become blueberries.
Some people will never learn. No matter how much you warn them: “Stop. Don’t. Come back.”, they ultimately turn into blueberries. Don’t use company resources for personal use. Don’t park in the Visitor Parking – even on a rainy day. Let your conscience be your guide. Be that straight-laced, honest Oompa-Loompa, and do right by your company so you can avoid the Juicing Room all together.

Tip #3 — Oh, you should never ever doubt what nobody is sure about.
Long-time employees often think they have a full understanding of everything that’s ever been tried in the past and know perfectly well what worked and what failed historically. They’re typically less likely to want to try something new, even if it hasn’t been tried before. When employees are unable to expand their horizons and enhance processes, they offer little future value to a company. You don’t want to be the kid who keeps drinking from the river of chocolate until you fall in. Chances are your boss will be more worried about that chocolate than he or she is about you.

Tip #4 — Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.
Just like long-time employees, organizations can get set in their ways. Settling into a certain role within a company can be detrimental to you and your organization. Getting used to a particular role and repetitive or unchanging responsibilities at any level of employment can lead to a greater adversity to change. Be prepared for change. It’s closer than you think.

Tip #5 — Oh! I wouldn’t do that. I really wouldn’t.
While Wonka and I both are proponents of open-mindedness and innovation, you’ve also got to realize when not to take a chance. Be mindful of your actions at all times. We are naturally impulsive creatures, and what may seem to be a great idea at first might, upon a second look, reveal itself to be more risky than any benefit it could provide. It’s best to concentrate on avoiding this potentially dangerous scenario — no matter how bad you want that golden goose. But if you do get burned, at least you’ll have a good sporting chance since the furnace where the bad eggs go is only lit every other day.

If Wonka is known for anything, it’s that he’s full of surprises, so here’s a bonus career tip. Surprise!

Bonus Tip! — So shines a good deed in a weary world.
Times are tough, and it’s easy to go to work with the “What’s in it for me?” mentality. But putting the best interests of your company, your department, your team, a fellow employee, or even your boss in front of your own at times can do the soul some good and end up paying other dividends. Now I’m not talking about handing over the reins of a candy empire to a 10-year-old, but helping out a peer who seems to be struggling could be your golden ticket to a more satisfying career.

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