T-SQL Tuesday #163 – What is the best piece of Career Advice you ever received?

T-SQL Tuesday #163 – What is the best piece of Career Advice you ever received?

T-SQL Tuesday is the blog party started by Adam Machanic (b|t) over a decade ago and is now maintained by Steve Jones (b|t) on tsqltuesday.com. Each month, lots of people blog their thoughts on a common topic.

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is from Gethyn Ellis (b|t) who is asking us to share the “best piece of Career Advice you ever received?”.

I actually struggled with this question.

Over my (many) years of work, I can’t think of any single guiding piece of quality advice that has been said to me.

I’m not saying that I’m completely self-taught, I have had things said to me, just nothing that springs to mind, if you excuse these nuggets that I was told during my contracting years:

  • “keep your head down and your nose clean”
  • “If you’re on a contract on a particularly good rate and they ask you to sweep the floor then ask  them where the brush is”

I do, however, enjoy reading and learning, so I’ve picked up a lot of advice through books, and more latterly YouTube and I’m happy to share a little.

Looking at my bookshelf, I can see a few that still resonate:

The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters

I’ve written about this book before, but I think that it’s useful to learn about things that you control let alone things that control you. The Chimp Paradox is about the brain, or more specifically various parts of the brain. It provides a great insight into why people do things. There’s an updated, extended version called “A path through the jungle

The Book of Leadership by Anthony Gell

This is an excellent book, readable and with sound advice. The first half of this book is about becoming a leader to yourself, and the second half is about leading others. When I read this for this first time, I had shifted roles such that I no longer had a team. Many times I have felt like I could have read this years ago.

If you want to get all modern and YouTube, these Channels are worth watching:

The Art of Improvement


Lots of drawing / talking on all sorts of subjects. Recommended.

Mark Lewis – Above Average


OK, so not career but fitness advice. Worth a watch for the humour alone. Made me think about doing a HYROX.

If you’re looking for advice then here’s a few words from me. No particular order, but every one has been said to my extensive collection of children, colleagues and friends.

  • Find something that you enjoy.
  • If you don’t like what you’re doing, move along and find something that you do like.
  • Find something that will pay you enough to do what you want in life.
  • Find something that will stretch you and keep learning.
  • Surround yourself with people that you aspire to.

I hope that something mentioned above is of use, but enjoy what you do, find people who “get” you, be kind and don’t rewind.

Best wishes, Nigel.

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