Three years ago I started my career completely over. I literally started from scratch. I have learned so much over these last 3 years that I wish I would have known fresh out of college. Seems to me colleges, and high schools are missing some fundamentals in preparing young individuals for the real world, but that is a discussion for another time.
In an effort to keep this short and to the point, I have decided we should dive right in. So, here are 10 specific things I have learned these last 3 years that have made monumental impacts in my career.
- Network. Do not get in a rut staying in your cubicle. Meet new people. Go to seminars. Attend workshops. Accept a happy hour invite. Utilize pockets of time to meet others and gain knowledge from their experiences. You never know where connections will take you.
- Read. Immerse yourself in current affairs, industry news, personal development, etc. Some of the wisest and most powerful individuals will tell you that reading is the gateway to growing yourself. Don’t believe me? Here are a few name drops: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffet. All avid readers.
- Interview. Find people you admire and ask them if they have time to meet with you and tell they why. There could be many reasons why you admire that individual, but let them know why you would like to speak with them and have a list of questions ready. And always thank them for taking time out of their day to assist you in your growth.
- Try something new. Don’t think you are “qualified” to handle a project? Why not try? Volunteer to help with an initiative and learn. You will never grow if you don’t take on new adventures. Aspire for more.
- Put emotions aside immediately. Having a bad day? Leave it at the door. Everyone has a battle they are facing. Everyone is going to have a bad day but if everyone let that affect them, nothing would get done. This does not mean you need to be a robot, this just means work is not your personal soap opera.
- Be confident in yourself. You are in your position for a reason. Recognize your amazing capabilities and use those to your advantage – every single day. And be proud of your hard work.
- Are we friends? You are not at work to make friends. You are not at work to sit around and gossip. Your job is not to be best liked for the yearbook. Be nice, be cordial, but remember, you are in a professional setting. There is a time and place for everything. And please know this, crying at work doesn’t get you empathy, it gets you a spot very low on the professionalism totem pole.
- Slow down. Unless you are an Olympic runner, slow down. Do it right the first time. Have all materials needed before pitching the idea. Proof read before sending the email. Gather all the facts before making a decision. And really take time to think of the outcome of those decisions.
- Handshakes. Never underestimate the power of the handshake.
- Don’t chew gum. No explanation needed.
Let me know what you think. Would love to hear feedback and other suggestions! Nikiclark9@gmail.com.