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Career Coach: Morsels of Wisdom Buffett Style

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson looks to Warren Buffett for some sage business and career advice.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

The animation industry is a small world. But you'd be surprised how widely that world extends. An animated series that teaches children healthy financial habits from Andy Heyward (of DIC Ent.) is called Secret Millionaires Club and features two characters called Buffett and Munger. That's Warren Buffett, who celebrates his 80th birthday on Aug. 30.

Here are a few thoughts about the future and some advice from the third richest man in the world:

"I believe in going to work for businesses ...and people you admire... I advise you never to do anything because you think it's miserable now but it's going to be great 10 years from now, or because you think I've got X dollars now, but I'll have 10x. If you're not enjoying it today, you're probably not going to enjoy it 10 years from now." -- Warren Buffett --

During an interview, ask enough questions so you can determine if the company and the employer and the job will be the right fit for you. If any of these elements is not a good match for your skills, talents and ambitions, then you will probably not be employed there long. You must determine if it is the right fit by knowing yourself and what is important to you. Don't take a job just to pay the bills. Find work you love to pay the bills. You'll be more successful at work you like doing than work you detest. If your heart is in it, money will follow.

"Some student at Harvard asked me, 'Who should I go to work for?' I said, 'Go to work for whoever you admire the most.' I got a call from the dean about two weeks later. He said, "What are you telling these kids? They're all becoming self employed!'"

The key to success in your career is to realize that no matter who you may work for, you are always working for yourself.

If you aspire some day to start your own business, find someone you can learn from and someone you work well with. What you learn is usually more important than what you earn. Learn from every job and every employer.

"...Hang out with people better than you. Pick ...associates whose behavior is better than yours and you'll drift in that direction."

As my volleyball-playing daughter points out, you can't improve if you are playing with people on your same level. This holds true for any endeavor–you can't excel if you aren't challenged by those around you.

"You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I've had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I'll do something. If not, I won't do a damn thing."

Be open to new opportunities and be able to recognize an opportunity when it comes your way. Be willing to take chances. Have some savings so you can take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. A number of years ago a friend of mine from college called me to tell me about a job on an animated TV special. The pay was low but my savings enabled me to take the job and still pay rent for my apartment. What I learned on that show was priceless.

"You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong."

Don't be afraid to fail. What you should be afraid of is not taking chances. I thought I didn't know anything about management when I took a job as manager of art at Virgin Interactive Ent. One of the most surprising things I learned was that I am good at management.

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

Your reputation is the most important marketing tool you have. Build a reputation for doing outstanding work, delivering on time and being a problem solver and opportunities will always come your way.

"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business."

Be aware that you are creating a brand for yourself with every job you take and the attitude you bring to the job. Be sure that brand is something that people will want to buy again and again. People like working with those they can rely on. Be that person who is positive, production and professional and recognize the wealth of wisdom others offer you along the way.

Warren Buffett did something usual to celebrate his 76th birthday.  He was married, for the second time, to his longtime companion, Astrid Menks. So happy 80th birthday and happy anniversary, Mr. Buffett.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach, recruiter and hiring strategist. She is available for speaking engagements or personal career coaching sessions. Contact her at PamRecruit@q.com. Most of these morsels of Buffett came from the book Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor by Janet Lowe. Her "Career Coach" column can be read at http://mag.awn.com. Her Linkedin profile can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelathompson.

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