This May audiences across Canada (and around the world) will be flocking to theatres to see the Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s the latest superhero flick guaranteed to showcase a whole slew of fantastic, daring deeds powered by enough special effects to make your head spin. Superheroes are great not only because they tend to save the world, but also because, if you look closely enough, they can teach you more career tips than your high school guidance counsellor. In homage to Captain America, the Hulk and the rest of the Avenger team, here’s is our (two part) list of career tips from our favourite superheroes. This first week will be focussed on the Avengers, while next week we’ll look at other super people.
Captain America: A great work ethic will take you a long way in life
Captain America was born as a runt. He was sickly and couldn’t pass his army medical exam no matter how many times he tried. One thing he had in spades was a good attitude, persistent spirit and a work ethic that would make a German like me proud. His bosses took note of his character – not his talents – and ultimately, that was the reason he was chosen to become the “world’s first superhero”. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – attitude counts for much more than many people realize when it comes to career success.
Ironman: You may be super smart, but you need a team behind you to really succeed
Tony Stark is many things: “a brilliant, playboy, philanthropist” and a bit of an asshole. He owns an awesome “Ironman” suit that’s virtually indestructible and with enough armaments to make a Abrams tank look like a child’s toy. He also tends to fly solo – both as a superhero and in life. In fact, Tony’s distancing of others and his chippy and arrogant personality coupled with supreme wealth makes him a pretty lonely individual. While he’s entertaining to watch and fine against garden variety villains, when it comes to bigger picture issues – be it the militarization of SHEILD or a massive alien invasion of New York, Tony needs to suit up and join a team rather than going it alone. The same can be said for most workplaces. You may be a real rock star on your floor, but without acknowledging and recognizing your team, your likely not going to get the job done (as quickly or as well) as you could do it.
The Hulk: Don’t get angry!
Anger in work situations will rarely help the situation. And while if you do get angry, you likely won’t end up smashing the desk/office/building like the big green Hulk, you may “smash” the camaraderie and esprit-des-corps of your office team. An angry and frustrated vibe will not only inhibit your own ability to successfully attack your projects, but also wash over those in your immediate surroundings putting defences up and crippling team communication and productivity. If you need to vent your anger – do what the Hulk does, get the hell away from anyone and anything you could hurt (impact) and vent till you’ve gotten it out of your system.
Hawkeye: If you’re the weakest link on the team, find your own special way to contribute
Let’s face it, Hawkeye probably shouldn’t really be on the Avengers team. Sure he’s good with his bow and arrow and can see stuff from a fair distance, but is he really in the same sphere as the God of Lightning or a giant green monster? No, he isn’t. But despite being arguably the biggest plug on the team, Hawkeye follows two critical steps. Firstly, he stays out of the way and avoids gumming up the Avenger’s operation – at least he does towards the end of the first movie (at the beginning he sort of helps out the bad guys by betraying SHIELDS plans and helping them blow up their awesome air ship). Second, he finds a niche way he contribute (shooting aliens with his bow and arrow) and goes to town. He doesn’t try to be a star. While we all want to be rock starts in the workplace, sometimes we’re assigned projects where we really don’t feel like we have a lot to contribute. If this happens to you, do no harm and try to find small ways that you can support the rest of the team to succeed.
The Avengers: Take some time to celebrate over a meal as a team after a job well done
What do preventing an alien invasion and nailing that important powerpoint presentation have in common? They’re both worth celebrating! In the final scene of the first Avengers the team heads to a great (semi-destroyed) shwarma place that Tony Stark happens to know of. Everyone is pretty tired and wearily munches on their wraps. Victory is good, but its best to celebrate it from time to time with your work colleagues – especially shortly after victory is attained. The next time you knock one out of the park, consider heading out for a beer/cup of coffee/ lunch with your team members to celebrate.