There’s plenty of stale career advice out there: Go the extra mile. Do what you love. Always be the first one there and the last to leave.
But a recent Quora thread, “What are a few pieces of unique career advice that nobody ever mentions?”, provides something different: valuable career advice that we haven’t heard a million times before.
Here are 13 of the best responses:
1. “In a new job, accept those first few invitations to lunch or happy hour. If you decline them, for whatever reason, they will stop, and you may find yourself an inadvertent outsider.” —Laura Cooke
2. “Don’t look too busy. I’ve seen smart and dedicated employees fail to get promoted, because they have taken on too much, working too hard, and appeared too frazzled. If you appear stressed, people will think you aren’t prepared to take on more, and you’ll miss opportunities for new and innovative projects.” —Mira Zaslove
3. “Never, ever cook fish in the office microwave.” —Ryan Harvey
4. “As you move up, your future success depends on doing unassigned work and responsibilities. Anyone who made it past the hiring process can do the assigned job at the company, but it takes a lot more to deliver value to the company that wasn’t assigned or even thought of.” —Victor Wong
5. “Understand when people see you check your phone at every call, then don’t answer when they call, they then know you put them on a low priority.” —Mike Leary
6. “Help others even if there is no direct benefit to yourself. It takes so little energy to answer questions, provide referrals, open doors, etc., for people who need your help, even if doing so offers you nothing immediate in return. Your efforts will be rewarded in the future in wholly unexpected ways.” —Scott Wainner
7. “The network of people you know who leave your current company are often times more valuable to you than those with your company.” —James Schek
8. “The weaknesses that you’re unaware of will hurt you the most. This is your blind spot. You must determine your hidden weaknesses and work to overcome them, and you’re going to need the help from others to do this.” —David Osborne
9. “When you want to learn some skill, look around for someone who is already good at it. Then just watch what they do, and copy it. Find what works for you, and modify it to your own abilities and style.” —John Caprani
10. “Ask your boss what his biggest problem is, and make it go away.” —Victoria Backaitis
11. “Don’t just look up — look laterally as well, because people with diverse experience usually progress faster than people with more experience.” —Vikrant Vaidya
12. “Entitlement is a career killer. Focus on staying grateful and working hard rather than feeling that things are owed to you.” —Scott Miker
13. “Try to make the next person’s job down the line easier. For example, if you are working on a project that goes through different hands, see what kinds of things you can do on your end that will make the process flow easier for the next person who performs the next step.” —Richard Gary Butler