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  • Writer's pictureJoe Odas

"You Go Be A Dentist" - Some of the Best Career and Life Advice I've Received

Throughout life, I've received tons of advice. We all have. Some advice has stayed with me over the test of time, while some advice that I should have taken had also fallen to the wayside on my end. Some pointers I wisely ignored. When it comes to advice, I received some for the better, some for the worse. Here is the advice that has stayed embedded in my mind throughout my life.

1. "You Don't Do Stupid Things" - My Dad

"CRASH!". I'm eight-years-old, and I just smashed the light fixture on my stepmom's ceiling with a tossed pillow. Don't ask me why I was throwing a pillow in the air, but it was just something that I did at that age. Yes, and that was the second light fixture that I had broken in my lifetime via pillow. My dad was pretty mad at me. He and my stepmom were dating at that time and of course he wouldn't want his light fixture smashing son to ruin it. He looked at me square in the eye and said, "You don't do stupid things!". As blunt as this advice was it has stayed with me for my entire life. Growing up, any time us kids were about to do anything slightly crazy we would hear, "You....Don't....Do....Stupid....Things!" (sometimes in a slower cadence to accentuate the point). I'd like to think that I listened, but that's not always the case like when I went to the NJ Taco Festival and mistook the margarita mix dispenser for hand sanitizer. Yes, I did that an adult.

2. "You Dress For Success" - My Mom

My mom always insisted that I dress to the nines, especially in a business setting. My grandpa was always a dapper man and she wanted to instill that upon me. I think it weirded out my college roommates when I would still be dressed nicely when we were mostly just sitting around drinking beers and watching TV. If my shirt was a little wrinkled, or if my shoes were a little worn, my mom would get on me for that. This advice almost backfired on me when I was interviewing for a creative internship as a copywriter at an ad agency. I showed up in full suit, the creative director told me to never show up again with that suit on and to burn it. You see, supposedly creative people aren't supposed to wear suits and they are supposed to look "punk". I never believed that. I always thought that creativity came from what's inside, and you can never judge a book by it's cover. So when appropriate, I've always rocked a suit like Barney Stinson. I had a sportcoat and pocket square when I met my wife, and that seemed to work out.

3. "Make Yourself Valuable" - Tony Lisa

Tony was the swim coach at Rowan University for over 35 years. He also supervised me when I worked in the athletic department for my school's work study program. One day he gave me advice to be used in work and in life to make myself valuable to the team - whether being highly skilled at taking tickets or planning marketing campaigns. Do your job with such efficiency and consistency that people will take notice when you are not doing it; and they will value your abilities by specifically requesting you to do the task.

4. "Go Back To School" - My Wife

There were many examples to choose from. A runner up would be when she tells me to “be productive!", but going back for my certificate last year was very beneficial to me as it got me "back in the game". I hadn't studied marketing or advertising in over ten years, and I really needed to develop my knowledge on aspects of marketing that were in their infancy back when I graduated from college. So I decided to obtain certificates from Rutgers Business School in both Digital and Social Media marketing. I learned many aspects of search engine optimization, Google Analytics, influencer, email and content marketing, and much more. I probably wouldn't even have the confidence to write this without the love and support from my wife. She's my real life Adrian.

5. "Make Yourself the Brand" - C.K. Kerley

One of the benefits of the Rutgers Business School courses was that there were office hours each week in which students could chat for an hour via online teleconferencing with the instructors. The office hours helped students gain valuable knowledge about applying the course to their marketing jobs, or in my case, on how to get a marketing job. It was a struggle to decide what product I was going to pick as my capstone project for my Social Media Marketing course this past spring. During one session, CK suggested making myself the product. So I took that advice and ran with it! That was the birthplace of what is now known as "Joe is Lit!".

6. "You Go Be A Dentist" - Jon Moxley

(The following is an excerpt from the May 29, 2019 edition of the "Talk is Jericho" podcast, Episode 564, "The Emancipation of Jon Moxley")

Jon Moxley: I got a lot of future ahead of me, and it could be anything. It could be anything I want it to be, you know?

Chris Jericho: It’s exciting.

Moxley: Yeah, I ain’t the friggin’ elf in, uh, you know it’s like the elf in, uh, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when he wants to be a dentist but everybody tells him -

Jericho: Hermey!

Moxley: You’re an elf. But he’s like I wanna be a dentist! So I’m here to tell everybody man, no matter where you are, who you are, what you come from, if you want to be a dentist and you’re an elf, you go be a dentist. You don’t let anybody tell you!

I've worked for the last 9.5 years in the insurance industry. I've made some great friends at my job, and I am grateful to be employed to the point that I can start a family. I was given the opportunity to recover from the great recession and given the chance to support myself for all of these years. I'm pretty darn good at my job, but the truth is - it's not who I am. I am a marketer, an idea guy, a "creative", a copywriter, an SEO expert, a content marketer, and a blogger. That's who I am. My Linkedin profile does not say insurance agent in the headline because even if it's "what I do", it's not who I am. As Jon Moxley said, "if you want to be a dentist and you're an elf, you go be a dentist"! The advice worked out well for Jon Moxley as he has the chance to change the face of his industry. Will I get that chance? Only time will tell.

This week we're going to try something a little different for the "Idea Section". My first foray into video content is coming soon! Stay tuned!

So tell me what you think about the memorable advice that I have received throughout my life? Leave a comment, and if you like what you read, please like it and share it. Let me know of some advice that you have received that has benefited you in life.

That's all for now! Until next time, #staylit.

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