Pay attention, because insightful career advice is hiding where you least expect it — on your TV.
Many colleges offer courses based on TV shows for a reason. Watching TV can unveil the entire spectrum of human emotions, from laughing at a sitcom to screaming at a football game. Aside from entertainment, your favorite shows can teach you a lot.
Next time you curl up on the couch after work to watch TV, listen closely. Primetime is full of beneficial advice, sometimes from unlikely sources. For example:
Work-life balance is crucial for success
We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third. — Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
Leslie Knope may be the most ambitious character on TV, but she knows that work isn’t all there is to life. Figure out what’s most important to you and make it a priority.
The people in your life may even help your career. For Leslie, her friends came together to help her city council campaign. Your loved ones could help you start a business or introduce you to new career connections.
Your interests, even the silly ones, can also help. Whether it’s waffles, your pets or playing in an adult kickball league, having outside interests can help keep you happy and reduce stress.
Talent isn’t enough
It’s not about talent once you get to the NFL, because everyone’s got it. It’s about being willing to go that extra mile to be the best, and that’s something that I’ve always done. — Robert Griffin III, NFL quarterback
No matter who you root for, listen to the above advice from the Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III. Getting the job is only the first step to career success. It’s what you do after that really matters. (Click here to Tweet this thought.)
Talent is only one part of being a brazen careerist. There are people who are as talented as you, maybe even more talented. To compete with those people, you have to work harder.
Professional athletes can’t stop working hard, even if they win a championship. Take the same tenacious approach to your career and be the hardest-working person in the room.
Don’t be afraid to try things for fear of making mistakes
There are certain things in life where you know it’s a mistake but you don’t really know it’s a mistake, because the only way to know it’s a mistake is to make that mistake and look back and say, “Yup, that was a mistake.” So really, the bigger mistake would be to not make the mistake, because then you’ll go your whole life not really knowing if something is a mistake or not. — Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother
Lily Aldrin left her job as a kindergarten teacher to pursue art. After being disappointed by her choice, she tried her hand at being a life coach, slam poet, marine biologist, office assistant and beekeeper before going back into teaching and, finally, becoming an art consultant.
Despite all of her career confusion, Lily knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to make mistakes or change her goals along the way.
Fear is the enemy of finding career fulfillment. If you let it control your choices, you’ll never reach your full potential. Mistakes are necessary for growth and improvement.
Produce work that can’t be ignored
I’m not going to schmooze anyone. I’m going to let my work speak for itself. — Leonard Hofstadter, The Big Bang Theory
He may be a fictional experimental physicist, but Leonard Hofstadter’s career advice is simple: do good work. You might have to do a bit of schmoozing or horn-tooting from time to time, but your work should be able to stand on its own.
Even the best schmoozer needs to be able to back it up. Charming your way into a top job is hard, but you won’t be able to keep it without providing results.
What’s the best career advice you’ve seen on TV? Share it in the comments below!
Erin Palmer is a digital content specialist who has learned a lot from TV. She has been published in The Chicago Tribune and The Huffington Post, yet she still gets excited every time she sees her byline. Interaction with readers makes her day, so reach out to her on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.