IF THERE WAS A TIME MACHINE – THESE ARE MY LESSONS LEARNED FOR MY 20’S SELF! – DR. WILLIAM (BILL) POWERS; PhD; SUSPENSE/THRILLER NOVELIST
INTRODUCTION – STYRON
Bill is my brother. I will NOT tell you his nickname, unless you pay me! (Unfortunately I do not accept Bitcoin) When I was born, I had hints but later confirmed, I was given the best brother IN THE WORLD! I am very biased and proud, because he has been my friend, coach, mentor, role model and a simply fantastic brother. When I call he ALWAYS answers.
BILL – IN HIS OWN WORDS
“I try to avoid giving other people advice. I find that most people don’t want it and I honestly don’t want the responsibility of what happens if they choose to take it. So I decided to write this to my younger self. This is the professional advice that 2019 Bill would give to 1980 Bill when he was just starting his professional career. These key points are in no particular order.
You have to know what you want; otherwise you risk wandering around in circles and wasting time. You should have long-range goals (five or ten years out, perhaps more) and intermediate goals that are stepping-stones to your long-range goal. Never lose sight of that long-range goal; whether you write it down or keep it in your head, whatever works for you. But always have that goal in sight.
Related to having goals is “Drive” or the “urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need”. You will have distractions and setbacks along the way, but Drive is what will keep you on the path to your goals. Consider you and your goals a “Brand”. Continually build and expand that brand.
Someone once told me “Play the hand you’re dealt.”. In life you can’t choose the hand you’re dealt. You can’t choose your parents or your circumstances of birth and complaining about it isn’t going to help. I would sometimes have staff come to me and complain about someone else who got a promotion before them or they thought got better pay than them. My advice to them was don’t focus on others; focus on yourself. There will always be someone else who gets a better deal than you – more pay or a promotion. Learn from the situation, apply it to your goals and move on. Complaining about what someone else received is a waste of your time and energy and makes you look weak to others. Remember – life is not fair.
Find a “Godfather”, that wise person you can go to for honest feedback and advice. I found that the best mentor relationships were the spontaneous and informal ones vs the ones forced by management. It helps to have that someone you can trust and go to for advice. They are hard to find.
STRENGTHS VERSUS WEAKNESSES
We all have both strengths and weaknesses. In the workplace, we have all received performance related feedback on “areas for improvement”, which usually tend to be our weaknesses. My advice on this is to know your weaknesses and then put them aside and focus like a laser on your strengths. Your strengths are what will help you achieve your goals, not your weaknesses. The energy you would have invested in your weaknesses – use that energy to make your strengths even stronger. If you manage or work with others, find people who can compensate for your weaknesses.
If you manage people, focus on each as an individual and what motivates that person vs treating everyone the same, because they are not. What motivates person A, may have no impact on person B. Don’t get bogged down following the latest management trends.
Choose Your Friends Carefully
It may sound cold, but you want to surround yourself with strong role models and people you can learn from; not complainers, whiners and gossips. You will be identified by the kind of people you associate with. You will also want to associate with people you can learn from.
You will make mistakes and have setbacks. Learn from them and keep your focus on your goals. In graduate school, we had to get an A or B to pass a class. C was considered a failing grade. When I first took biochemistry, I got a final grade of C (a high C, but still a C). At that point I could have gotten my Masters degree and gotten a good job, but my goal was a Ph.D., so I took a remedial class in calculus, repeated the biochemistry course and got a B. Then went on to get my Ph.D. I had a setback, but I kept my focus on my goal. And remember, making mistakes is fine. Repeating them is not.
CONCLUSION – BILL POWERS
The above items are some of the thoughts that I developed during a 31-year career in the chemistry and pharmaceutical industries. Many, I learned the hard way. But I do wish that someone had given this advice to 1980 Bill and that he would have been smart enough to listen.
Bill Powers is a former pharmaceutical R&D executive, world traveler, and history buff turned author. Bill’s first Harding Family novel, The Pharm House, was published in 2013, and was named a Finalist in the Medical Thriller category of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards.
In that debut novel, Bill put to use his twenty-six years of experience working for Johnson & Johnson in pharmaceutical R&D, where he ultimately rose to the position of Vice President, Global Preclinical Development. In his years with the company, Bill was instrumental in the development of several marketed pharmaceutical products, leading groups of scientists in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Bill has also led research groups in Belgium and India, in addition to his extensive personal travels in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He earned his PhD in Toxicology from the University of Cincinnati, and has published numerous abstracts, articles, and book chapters on a variety of toxicology subjects. Bill’s parents were both teachers who stoked his childhood love for words and voracious appetite for reading. He is married, with one adult child, and has moved away from the corporate world to focus on his writing career.
In Bill’s exciting new thriller, The Torch is Passed, the Harding family finds itself in the middle of a deadly intrigue where someone is trying to kill Nicholas and his brother Michael and daughter Andrea.
It is up to young Andrea to urgently seek answers why anyone would want to kill her entire family—forcing her to grow up along the way and seek her revenge.
Bill is at work on a third instillation of the Harding Family Story and starting to outline the beginnings of a new suspense/thriller storyline with Deirdre Southington as the protagonist.
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I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger, with a NC State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.
I started my first business at ~13 years of age. I am a successful investor in equities and real estate and happy to share my personal finance and investment lessons learned with you. However, I am NOT a licensed financial advisor. Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog, as recommendations for your personal situation. For individual finance advice please seek your own licensed CPA or financial advisors.