Three Investments (Not Money) I Wish I Made a Decade Ago To Get Farther in My Career

We all wish we could have invested in Apple, Netflix or Google a decade ago, but here are three soft skills you can invest in now that will produce greater returns

Wang Yip
2 min readJan 26, 2022


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Thinking back over a decade ago, I entered the workforce. Considering where I am now, I’m fairly satisfied with how things turned out, but I feel like there are things I could have done to get a better job, more pay, do more meaningful work and more.

As I reflect back over my decade long career, there are three investments I wish I made earlier given the wisdom I have now.

Investment in skills

One incredibly useful exercise is to telescope way ahead. What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? What job title do you want to have? It’s hard to know these things when you’re just starting out, but even if you have an idea of what to aim for, it can be incredibly useful. For example, if you know you’re going to be in management, you can start investing in the skills you need at the management level.

What skills?

  • Negotiation
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Relationships
  • Communication / presentation
  • Writing
  • Team management

Investment in interesting experiences

One thing I see in common with leaders at every company I work with: their life is informed and enriched by interesting experiences. What kind of interesting experiences?

  • Entrepreneurial activities (starting a job)
  • Being a part of a board of directors
  • Travelling
  • Volunteering (usually abroad but not always)
  • Being part of the military / army
  • Having interesting hobbies and passions (and not just that but being deep into those hobbies or passions to the point of being a connoisseur)

Interesting experiences have several benefits I see: they’re good talking points with others, they allow you to network outside of your normal circles of influence, and they allow you to experience new things you can bring back to your job.

Investment in relationships

Unfortunately, we all have limited time to talk to those in our network. But the successful managers/leaders I work with somehow know exactly who to keep in touch with, how frequently to keep in touch, and what to talk about. It’s the relationships that help you:

  • Get a new job
  • Promote your work
  • Find other contacts to help you
  • Be mentors or strategic advisors to you

Are you early in your career? Think about how you can invest in skills, interesting experiences and relationships now and thank me later!

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Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at