Always good to reflect and share the collective wisdom gained on this site. Really just looking for what people feel like their main takeaways and principles to abide by are, while navigating this jungle. Try and keep it to your top 3 in bullet point format for a user-friendly read. Threads on this site have a tendency of going down the rabbit whole to the extent that there's so many long paragraphs that a casual lurker gets lost in the sauce.
- Always Make Decisions Based on Strength, Never Weakness: Probably the main deterrence in people's personal/professional progression that I notice time and time again is that they talk themselves out of aiming high and taking well-calculated leaps of faith due to anxieties and stress of working through logistics and lifestyle changes. Don't not take that Quant Finance course you're interested in because you're afraid that the work involved might be too much. Take it as a challenge and power through it. Don't not accept a better opportunity because you're complacent in your current role, apprehensive of what a lifestyle change entails and/or are afraid to move to a new city. Be a steamroller, straight ahead. Always. Don't turn down the opportunity to lead a seminar or take on a major part in a presentation because you're nervous of public speaking. Always rise to the occasion and the next time you face that adversity you're going to breeze through it.
- Look Out For Number One: Do not let the sentimental distract you from doing what is best for yours. Sometimes it feels bad, but you have to realize that if you don't look out for yourself, everyone else will look out for themselves and you will ultimately get the short end of the stick. This might mean reneging on a job offer for a better offer, this might mean terminating your employment with a botique shop two weeks in because a headhunter found you a better gig. This might mean not falling on every sword your staffing manager throws your way, for the sake of preserving your own sanity and not letting other coworkers take advantage of your willing to sacrifice more than other employees.
- Everything is Bullshit Until Proven Otherwise. Demand an explicit promise, in writing: That company that's offering you a title "promotion" but is vague and unclear about your role at the firm and the firm's operations - they're probably trying to fuck you. Make them write you a list of your job descriptions, a compensation range and your 12 month path to progression immediately. They will be impressed with your diligence if they're not full of shit. Same thing when it comes to working on deals. You get an LOI from a local investment group with an intended PP way higher than the other firms? Get their ass on a call, make them submit you a detailed list of every LOI they've sent out in the past 24 months and the outcome of each. What did they retrade on? What deals did they flake on? When did they require extended diligence to secure financing? Again, if your counter-party isn't full of shit, they should be happy to supply you with this information to confirm their status as a strong buyer. Always, always, always be weary of vagueness, half-answers, perpetual delayers and changes of subject.
Those are my big three, excited to read through what the rest of yall got for me!