Brains are what count in one's career." To what extent is this true

"Brains are what count in one's career." To what extent is this true?

In this modern age, it is no longer possible to depend on 'brains' alone to be successful in one's career. The degree one receives after graduating from a university cannot guarantee one a place in the job market, not to mention if the economy is facing a downturn. There are several other factors that have to be considered. The degree just reflects that one has the certified ability in a particular field of knowledge. However, such knowledge, often treated as the equivalent to having 'brains', is not the focus of career development anymore. Having 'brains' is important because it is one of the basic requirements for entering the job market, but it is not what counts in one's career. Hence, it is true only to a relatively small extent that brains are an important factor in one's career.

What firms and corporations look for nowadays is emotional intelligence (EQ). The ability of a worker to cooperate and relate well with his colleagues is very important. He has to communicate well with fellow workers, learn to keep an open mind to accept feedback and comments for self-improvement and share skills with them. Companies appreciate such workers because they would not be faced with strained work relations which may in turn lead to a great deal of unhappiness. Good interpersonal skills also make things easier during teamwork because everyone is able to communicate effectively. Gone are the days when success depends on an individual's efforts. Hence, communication barriers have to be eliminated before the team can succeed and this is important in one's career because having a good and strong relationship with colleagues brings about many benefits.

A positive attitude towards one's career is another factor. Imagine a worker who comes to work everyday sighing, hoping that time will pass by faster and that there will be less assignments for the day. How far can this worker, with a negative attitude, go in his career compared to another employee who comes to work smiling, is willing to work overtime and hopes that there will be more challenging assignments on hand to stretch and improve himself? In times of recession, which worker will be retrenched first? Which worker will be able to establish a career faster? I am quite sure even if the former worker is equipped with a higher educational level, his poor work attitude will get him nowhere.

One's character or personality also counts in one's career today. Characteristics such as perseverance, determination and optimism may be the key to a successful career. Entrepreneurs have to persevere through difficult times to get to where they are today. They have to learn to accept failure and setbacks along the way, to pick themselves up and continue running the arduous race. Risk-taking is also necessary because they have to explore new areas and make important decisions based on their foresight. They also have to be optimistic about their investments and businesses and be backed by strong determination so as not to give up. These three qualities also apply to other careers.

Creativity is another important factor. Companies constantly want fresh and new ideas for proposals and reports. Office workers have to improve on this aspect if they want to climb the corporate ladder. Even the self-employed have to be creative in their marketing techniques to keep up with the ever-changing tactics employed by other firms. The people in the advertising industry constantly come up with new concepts because creativity determines their success.

I would not deny that the image that one projects and one's physical appearance are also important factors. One has to look presentable and professional to leave a good impression on customers and bosses. How can a worker in a sloppy outfit expect to leave a good impression? Hence, image can be important, especially when working for big corporations.

Job devotion is another significant point. Liking your job and putting your heart and soul into each assignment represents your enthusiasm in what you do. The more enthusiastic you are and the more attached you feel to the job, the higher the chances of working well with others and being successful in your career.

Lastly, I would consider linguistic abilities to be an important factor. The ability to speak well and being bilingual help especially when China's markets and economy are opening up fast. Being able to converse in different languages and dialects will help expand one's career as one is able to communicate effectively and to network with partners in foreign countries.

Brains are certainly not all that count in one's career. Of course, I am not implying that they are not necessary, but they have become a pre-requisite for entering a job market and are no longer a bonus. One has to learn to cultivate the right qualities to succeed in a career with a brighter future.

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