Break the Rules: An honest talk with Chris Bussing

It might seem like everyone giving job advice is encouraging you to stay on the straight and narrow, fight your way up the ladder and follow the predetermined path. Chris Bussing, a mentor who currently lives in Boston and works in sales for Oracle is emphasizing how important it is to break the rules.

"If you’re a rule follower and mundane you’ll do well and maybe you’ll eliminate the outlier of doing poorly, but you’re less likely to be the person who makes a great change"- C.B.

Rule: You learn everything you need to know for your job in college.

Chris’ Take: I think college is great; you need a degree, and having a Georgetown degree really helped me network and is a large part in why I am at Oracle. But I think my strengths developed once I was out of college and the classroom in my own personal learning, developing my emotional intelligence, self-awareness, social-awareness, my relationship building skills, those became my strengths and that’s why I thought about going into sales and consulting. That fit really well with IT, just to give you a sense of how I got to where I am so I am not sure if this is still applicable or not to the audience you are trying to reach.

Rule: You should only major in something that leads directly to your career.

Chris’ Take: I was an economics major and Spanish minor and I don’t use what I studied at all.

Rule: If you have a good degree, it will make you a lot of money.

Chris’ Take: I think your degree will make you a living but what will make you extremely wealthy is your studying outside of the classroom that you do personally on your own.

Rule: You have to be out of school for a long time to become successful.

Chris’ Take: Graduated in 2015, interviewed in 2017.

Rule: You should avoid a job that relies on your weaknesses.

Chris’ Take: Sometimes what traits we have that may be seen as almost negative in most cases, our rough edges, are perhaps our greatest strengths and our greatest differentiators and perhaps if you can understand your strengths even your quirks and capitalize on them that’s what gives you the opportunity to really separate yourself. Embrace your rough edges if you want to be someone who makes a great change in the tech industry.

Rule: Sales (and other similar jobs) rely on you being sneaky and fibbing.

Chris’ Take: I have disarming sense of honesty, and it’s helpful in sales because I can take off the sales hat and come across the fellow human being. I break down that barrier between the customer and the sales guy.

Rule: The only way to achieve success in your career is to put EVERYTHING else on hold and work 24/7.

Chris’ Take: I would encourage people to make time for happiness and then you will succeed in whatever you do. So make time to be social, make time for your relationships, take time to workout, and take time to be mindful. There is so much out there that is more important than your job like happiness and that will spill over into your career.

Rule: If you fail, YOU are a failure.

Chris’ Take: I am a big believer in trial and error and our failures are our greatest teachers. Anyone that is successful is that way because they learned to fail. Lean into discomfort and be willing to put yourself out there and try new things.

“People think success brings you happiness and contentment but the formula is actually the other way around happiness and contentment will bring success.”- C.B.

So, next time you feel like the path is lying straight in front of you and you need to follow the “rules” to get from point A to point B, think of Mentor Chris. Break rules, take risks, even fail. It will make you a stronger person and a stronger leader.

Thank you, Chris, for your time and great advice.

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