One of my relatives is a young guy who is a bit lost with his life, much like I was at the start of “Pushing Rubber Downhill.” It’s hard to give advice directly to people in these or in any circumstances for that matter. So often I’ve found that people go and do the exact opposite of what you advised them to do. I’m very careful about what sort of advice I give. A lot of the time I just prefer to listen, and sometimes that is enough.

But I did give him some advice that I will share with you now as I think it’s important, and as you will see, it would be kind of stupid to go and do the opposite.

He was having a hard time keeping a job. He was in sales and most of the time he wasn’t seeing out his probationary period. They just weren’t inviting him to stay on. There were a few other reasons for this, personal ones which he is in the process of resolving. But we got to talking about work, about how to excel at the workplace, and this was my advice.

When you start a new job, your ultimate goal should be to become the best person at that firm doing that job. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re only going to be there for a short time, that should still be your goal. You need to knock it out of the park.

To do this you need to identify the best person they currently have doing your job. Then you develop a good relationship with that person. Ask them for guidance. Get them to critique what you’re doing. Listen to that critique and actually work on it.

And then beat them.

That’s it. Now, you might not achieve this every time, because maybe they are really that good. But at least you will have tried, and in doing so you will have improved your own skills and abilities.

I don’t care what type of job it is. You could be a cleaner for all I care. Be the best cleaner they have. Smash it out of the park.

Too many people turn up to work and just kill time. As someone who has been a business owner in the past I can tell you that this kind of leech behavior is all too common, and it’s quite devastating when you add it up. If a business gets into temporary difficulty the last people they will get rid of are those that are making them money. Look at what you do right now in your workplace. Are you making your company money? Do you have billable hours? These are the key questions when things get tough.

The biggest mistake that all business make is that they hire fast and fire slow. It should be the other way around, but that takes active management.

The biggest mistake, in regards to their careers, that individuals make is that they settle for being second best and then years later wonder why they never get anywhere.

Have a bit of pride. Be the best that you can be.