People at the Top Share the Best Career Advice They Ever Got (AOL Jobs)

Thursday, 23 June, 2011 / Published in Press

Originally posted in AOL jobs.

Every time a big name crosses the path of AOL Jobs, we ask them to share the best career advice they’ve ever received. We figure if it worked for them, perhaps it’ll work for the rest of us.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite responses below — from Ryan O’Neal to Carlos Mencia; Donald Trump to Gene Simmons — but we’re not done. We’ll continue to add nuggets of wisdom throughout the year, so be sure to check back! And if you’ve got powerful words of career-related inspiration to share, please add them to the comments below.

Never complain unless you absolutely have to.

And always prove that you can do it!

– Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins’ fierce and wildly beautiful heroine Lucky Santangelo is back with a vengeance in “Goddess of Vengeance,” September 13.

Phil Proctor of the legendary comedy troupe “Firesign Theater” and later “Proctor and Bergman” told me, “If I want to do comedy know everything.” His advice was to learn everything. It’s impossible to know the amount that Phil knows, but striving for that is a good idea.

– Penn Jillette

Illusionist/comedian Penn Jillette writes about his life and all the goofy things important to him in God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales.

Don’t trust career advice.

– Alton Brown

Keep a look out for Alton Brown’s latest book, Good Eats 3, coming in October.

When you knock on someone’s door, if the answer is “no,” ask why? If the answer is “yes,” ask how? I’ve learned that from many of my mentors. That advice serves me well. Here are a few examples: It took seven years, for Steve Lang, CEO of Mon Cheri Bridal to say yes, to our kathy ireland Weddings by 2be Bridal collections. Today, we are very successful together.

When I first started designing socks people laughed. So far, we have sold over 100,000,000 pairs of socks. When we began in the Home Industry, people laughed again. They said, ” you’ll never make it!” Today, we offer over 45,000 products in furniture, flooring, lighting, windows and window coverings, office, fashion, jewelry, real estate and more! People aren’t laughing anymore. More often, they are studying what we do, and complimenting us by trying to copy what we do every day.

– Kathy Ireland

“No one is in the Mark Feuerstein business more than Mark Feuerstein.”

This advice was given to me by a producer who really just had no interest in making a phone call on my behalf; she herself was not in ‘the Mark Feuerstein business.’

But I thank her for giving me such honest and true advice. It’s a cousin of the cliche:

“If you want something done, do it yourself, otherwise it’ll never get done.”

Assume you’re the only one who’s going to see that task, that project, that vision, through to the end.

At least assume that until you find collaborators (as I have on Royal Pains) who disprove that theory.

– Mark Feuerstein

Watch Mark Feuerstein on Royal Pains, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. / 8 p.m. Central on USA.

Treat your crew right and never keep an audience waiting.

– Leah Remini

Catch Leah Remini on The Talk, which airs weekdays 2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT/CT on CBS.

My first acting coach, Sheila Wills, told me to always be ready! Stay in shape and take good care of yourself through good health and nutrition!

– Vivica Fox

Find something you love to do then find someone to pay you do it. I heard that while I was driving in Rome.

– Ryan O’Neal

Ryan O’Neal can be seen in the new docu-series Ryan & Tatum: The O’Neals which airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.


The best career advice I received was from my dad. He said to me, “If you can fix it, it’s a problem. But if it has no solution, then it is a simple truth and you must accept it.” I guess it was his version of the serenity prayer. Nothing ever told to me by anyone else has impacted me or affected the way I deal with my career more than those words.

– Carlos Mencia

Mencia recently performed at Joey Thumbs Dueling Piano Bar in Joplin, Mo., donating the proceeds from the show to the Ozark Food Harvest. He’s currently touring in “Carlos Mencia LIVE.”

After my first roast Milton Berle told me, “They only remember the home runs.” I’ve slowly discovered that this applies to almost everything in life.

– Jeffery Ross

Relax — don’t try to make everything happen overnight. Don’t get frustrated because you’re not “there” yet. Every day is a stepping stone.

– Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is the host of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, which airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

To never put all your eggs in one basket has always been a good idea and a mantra of mine. Spread the risk. Have one job and do one thing, and be able to do two or three other things in case one thing doesn’t work out. Just don’t be a master in one and a knucklehead in all others.

– Gene Simmons

My father told me to “know everything you can about what you’re doing,” and he gave me his four-step formula for success: “Get in, get it done, get it done right, and get out.”

– Donald Trump

“Do NOT screw this one up” — from my stepmother, Vicki, before my last screen test for ‘WNTW.’

– Stacy London

It came from Oprah. She said, “Phil, be who you are. Don’t let them homogenize you, don’t let them change you, be true to yourself, true to your values. That will carry you to the end.”

– Dr. Phil McGraw

Work harder than the next person and don’t complain about it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Close your eyes and try to envision what your next step is every once in a while.

– Rachael Ray

Grace is above praise and blame.

– Suze Orman

Listen to yourself, first.

– Darla K. Anderson

Anderson is the producer of movies that include “Toy Story 3,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”)

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