In the book The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Buffett offered up myriad opinions, including career advice to college students that you can apply to your own career path:
People ask me where they should go to work, and I always tell them to go to work for whom they admire the most. It's crazy to take little in-between jobs just because they look good on your résumé. That's like saving sex for old age. Do what you love and work for whom you admire the most, and you've given yourself the best chance in life you can.
Forget the advice about climbing the elusive corporate ladder to build the perfect résumé that will land that coveted job at that dream company. No, the real key to success isn't crafting the perfect background "on paper" -- it's finding someone for whom to work who holds the power to propel your career forward, faster than you would do on your own.
Plain and simple, the best job shouldn't be the job that pays the most, but the one whose boss you admire the most. Another reason why Buffett likes to quote Isaac Newton, who stated, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
By neglecting this career lesson, Buffett says, you're not giving yourself the best chance you can to succeed in life. And the reality may be, that "admirable" person could be someone in a leadership role at your company right now.
A leader worthy of admiration
The person you will eventually admire the most will undoubtedly be a leader to whom you're willing to give your best effort.
There is a trade-off here: This is a leader who will set you up for long-term success, allow you to fail-forward, and give your work purpose and meaning. In return, there's employee loyalty, commitment, and intrinsic motivation -- matters of the heart that give companies true competitive advantage.
In turn, being mentored and guided by such leaders will catapult you to career success. It speaks volumes to how far and fast a career can advance when you're under the leadership of someone who cares about you and your career development.
Admirable leaders, plainly stated, are labeled as such because they truly care about individual contributors on a human level. They are sincerely interested in getting to know them -- their interests, concerns, dreams, strengths, gifts, and goals.
And in the end, as Warren Buffett has attested, they will make those around them better and more successful.