1. Time is not a limitless commodity. In fact, time is precious. It is the only resource that does not suffer insouciance. And, we all have the same amount of time. Be planful and organized. If you take the time to write down your To-Do list, you will get more done. It is important for you to take responsibility for your time. Whatever gets scheduled…will get done. Be intentional, be willing and be determined to make the most of your time every day. You have two options: to manage your time in efficient ways; or, to have time control you. Be aware, and make the most of your use of time—yours and others’. If you are a person who tends to be late chronically, try setting your clocks ahead to help you be on time. Whatever you do, do not waste others people’s time by being late.
QUOTE: Punctuality is the politeness of kings.
2. Talent and education may be rated too highly. Results are what counts. Getting along with people is also what counts. You could be the most talented and charming person in the world, but all of it is for naught if you cannot show solid results and get along with people. You might have a Ph.D., but if you cannot get along with people, then this may be an indication that you need to work with things rather than people. Education is very, very important. But if you do not use the life skills you learned while in college, you run the risk of not reaching your full potential.
- Keep a checklist of your To-Do List. Check off each item as you complete it. Do the most difficult items first.
- Keep a notebook. This will help you stay as close to your work as possible. Use the notebook to keep research, quotes, post ideas, etc…anything that will help you present your work.
- Minimize interruptions as much as possible.
- Stay focused on the task at hand.
- Reward yourself once each item is checked off your list.
- Set up a personal system for your To-Do List. Get a special notebook or special pencils/pens to manage your daily tasks, then follow your system.
- Try to handle each piece of paper only once.
3. People tend to be most productive in the morning (after a good night of rest). Do the hardest tasks when you are fresh and rested. Be sure to breakfast your body in the morning. Strategic planning and important meetings will happen during the day. Always be‘at the ready’ with pad of paper, pen (or other writing instrument), notes, IPad, etc. [Press ‘silent’ on your electronic device so your co-workers will not be disrupted by the clicking sound of the keyboard.] Try to not be the person that has to be reminded that a pen and paper or a particular folder are needed. Organize your files by project, and be sure to bring the project file folder that fits the meeting. Establish a filing system that works for you, then let the system work for you.
It is very nice to give what you have been asked to do. But giving before you have been asked shows you are paying attention and that you understand the task at hand. (And your boss might be impressed, too.)
4. Social Media is not a career (unless you work within one of the social media companies). It is important to remember that social media is simply a function of marketing, therefore, it is not a means to the end. Be careful what you are posting on social media sites, as everything is public information. Companies who are hiring will often look at social media to determine if a candidate has posted information that may be embarrassing or even harmful to the reputation of the company. Mind your social media sites so that it always presents you in the best light.
Something to consider in today’s world: Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no cars. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, The most valuable retailer, has no inventory. Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. We live in interesting times.
5. Pick up the telephone when it rings. Don’t hide behind your keyboard or caller id. A telephone call is an easy and effective way to accomplish tasks. The personal touch of the telephone can help to develop future business opportunities, too. Do not refuse a call simply
because you know it will be a difficult call. Dive in and take the call. Have a pen and paper ready to take notes. Always.
6. Be the first to arrive in the office and the last to leave. By arriving early, it will give you quiet, uninterrupted time before the busyness of the workday begins. Follow your To-Do List. It feels good to check off an item! And, it feels good to begin your day by getting
some things done that need your attention.
7. Be on time (or early). Employees new to the workforce have a lot of ground to cover. One way to do this is to work harder and smarter than your peers. Steady, quality, moving forward. Be true to yourself first, then your work. In other words, take care of yourself or you
won’t be any good at work. Early to work never hurts. Always helps.
8. Show drive and initiative, then take action. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Ask questions. Show interest. Doing too much can never hurt.
9. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. Embrace your mistakes early in your career. Don’t make excuses (or call Mommy or Daddy to fix them). Own them. Grow from them. Learn the lessons, then remember the lessons learned. This is called ‘being grown up’. No matter your age.
10. Temper tantrums, hissy fits, and general meltdowns: Save them for the sandbox. It is not nice to throw sand (in the form of a meltdown or temper tantrum) at your office mate, even if you disagree on something. The early stages of your career are when you are most
impressionable, vulnerable and valuable. A tough boss that pushes you will help you to develop and set good life long work habits. It is just as important to learn what not to do, as it is to learn what to do. Remember, it is results that count.
11. Unexplainable gaps or blank spots in your work resume or a new job every year is not a good thing. Short employment stints or lapses in your work resume (that cannot be explained by a reasonable explanation such as ‘going to school, life-threatening illness, etc.) are red flags topotential employers. Employers are looking for reliability and dependability. It takes a few years to master crucial work skills. Demonstrate your good work ethic on a daily basis. Stick to it, even if you don’t like it. And give 110% in a mannerly and respectful way.
12. People are more important than benefits. Choose people. Bennies, as benefits are affectionately called, are extremely important. No question about that. But don’t pick the company with the popular extras. Choose a company that will help you to grow in your career. Is
there a leadership program within the company? Sign up for it. What does the managerial structure look like? Is there room for you to grow? Look for effective leaders and managers while keeping in mind your long term career plan.
“We learn the most from two general things: the people we meet, and the books (and other reading materials) we read.”
–Dr. Patricia Tice
13. Put together your career plan for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. Where do you want to be in one year, five years, etc. ? Write it down and review it on a regular basis. Are your daily behaviors at work consistent with your short and long term career plan? People who write
down their goals are more successful in achieving those goals.
There will be bumps in the road. The bumps are a part of life. The key is to navigate the bumps. All of life is an adaptation. When a setback is experienced, how do you cope? Do you adapt and learn from the setback in order to move forward? Or do you get yourself into a rut,
refusing to let go of the anger and disappointment? The anger may show in your work or your relationships. Worse yet, do you dig a hole for yourself that is difficult to get out of? In that case, stop digging the hole deeper. Seek help. Don’t get discouraged. In every situation in life, there is a lesson to be learned. Pay attention and learn the lesson.
KEY TO GOOD MANNERS IN LIFE: Always learn the lesson and grow from it.
14. Learn to stride. If you are asked to do things you don’t want to do (and you will be asked), take the tasks in stride by staying focused on the future. For every task to be done, there are a multitude of other responsibilities that lead up to the culmination of the assigned task. Think of the final event as the ‘commencement’. A lot of hard work and time go into making a successful career. It is the same way with any project. Don’t be afraid to do the ‘dirty work’ behind the scenes. Put in the effort and time while carrying a good attitude. It will show your work mates that you are a solid team player.
15. Speak up, not out #1. Do not talk badly about your boss, job or co-workers to other employees (or to anyone for that matter). Rather, have a constructive and healthy conversation. There is an old saying that goes, ‘what goes around will come around’ or ‘as you
sow, so shall you reap’, which is the basic understanding of how karma, the law of cause and effect, works.
Karma means ‘activity’ and can be divided up into a few basic categories: good, bad, individual and collective. The fruits of the karma can be sweet or sour, depending on the nature of the actions involved. The fruits can be sweet in a collective manner if a group of people work together perform a certain task or activity. Sometimes a couple who dated years ago reunite, through no formal planning of their own. There is no logical explanation for why this happens, except that karma can be wonderful. Sometimes one lands a perfect position. Was there hard work and a good education involved? Quite possibly. But the bigger thing is the timing of it: the time was right for you to land the perfect position. Karma is alive and well.
All of life is a vibration. If we put out goodness, honesty and truth, then we will receive back goodness, honesty and truth. All life forms are symbiotic. Each life is interrelated. If we speak ill of people or are disrespectful and rude to people, that is what we will get in return. People are not going to confront you on your rudeness. That, in itself would be rude. Everything we say and do determines what is going to happen to us in future. Whether we act honestly, dishonestly, are rude to others or kind to others, help or hurt others, it all goes on record in our internal psyche and manifests as a karmic reaction at some later time.
There is no scientific formula that is provided for how and when karmic reactions may appear in our lives, but one can be sure they will appear in some form or other. Very few things in life happen randomly. One may be able to get away with a crime they committed, or avoid
paying taxes, or may steal from a business, but according to karma, eventually, they will have to answer in some way. It is interesting that once karma comes back to visit an individual who has harmed someone or something, the individual is often filled with anger and vengeance, while being completely bewildered as to how ‘this’ could be happening to him.
16. Speak Up, Not Out #2. Having a good and successful career also means that one sometimes has to deal with difficult situations or difficult people. When and if you are faced with such a situation, there are three basic things to remember:
- Separate emotion from fact. Your heart may start racing (this is your fright or flight response—your body’s natural intrinsic survival mode trying to protect you) when you hear shouting on the end of the telephone line, but stick to the facts. Let the person vent, take a deep breath, then respond factually, in a cool and calm way.
- Have a Teflon back. Let the emotion slide off. Let go of it. Your feelings may be hurt, which is a difficult to let go of. But focus on the fact that you handled it in the best way you possibly could. Then sleep on it. In the days following, reinforce yourself that you were professional and factual and kind in your response. This is not an easy thing to do, but keep practicing having a ‘slick’ back, so you can ‘let it go’. The key is for you to be able to say to yourself that you ‘did the best I could’.
- Stick up for yourself. If someone has personally attacked you or been disrespectful to you, then you need to let them know. In your quietest, strongest voice, remind them that you will not be disrespected, and you hope they will remember in future. You want (and need) to work with them, but the work will be much easier for both if the respect is mutual. You are not a human punching bag, after all. You don’t have to like someone to work with them. But you do need to respect them. And they need to respect you. And, it is okay to disagree with someone. With mutual respect, of course.
17. Know your technical stuff/insider words and jargon, but not so much that people glaze over. Don’t speak in buzzwords or acronyms for the purpose of impressing people. Don’t use complicated words when simple words make more sense. Your resume will stand out if you are more savvy in the use of the English language, which means ‘say it so all of us will understand’! Finish the ends of the words you speak and choose your words carefully. The world is listening. Simpler is always better.
18. Build and maintain a professional network. The quality and quantity of your network matter. You may not be friends with your colleagues outside of the workplace, but then again, maybe you will be. It is who you know more than what you know. People tend to do
business with those folks they know and trust and like. Build your network early in your career (college friends are a great starting place) and maintain your network as you grow in your career.
19. Find at least two professional mentors. Develop a relationship with them. Be sure to listen to them. Be like a human sponge and soak in everything your mentors are sharing with you. Their advice can often fast track your career or help you avoid possible pitfalls. Do not develop hubris, which can be poisonous to one’s career. Hubris is exaggerated pride in one’s self. Your boss would just call it “too full of himself therefore he cannot focus on the task at hand”. This is not an attractive thing, especially with professionals.
20. Pick a professional idol to model yourself on. Choose someone who is a professional in your field. Follow their career—both the risks and the rewards. Mirror them. Act ‘as if’, which will cause your brain to start to believe you can truly do it. The do the actions that will get you to where you want to be professionally.
21. Read more books and authors. Be prepared to answer someone who asks what you are currently reading. Challenge yourself to read at least one book per month—it jump starts your creativity and grounds your soul. Read books and printed materials. Be continually thirsty to learn more by reading business books. Reading is a good indication that you are interested in becoming the best person you can be…for your work and for your family.
22. Manage your budget and your money. Spend at least 25% less than what you make in net income. If your material needs meet or exceed your income, you may be incapacitating your ability to be financially successful. Don’t go there. Practice delayed gratification. (You don’t have to have everything right now. Building up to it makes it sweeter when you are able to get whatever it is you want.) By taking less money now, will pay off in a big way down the road. Be sparing with your use of credit cards. Pay credit cards in full at the end of each month. If you cannot pay the cards in full at the end of each month, then you are setting yourself up for financial purgatory. Remember, credit cards are ‘borrowed’ money that has to be paid back. Focus on needs rather than wants.
A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that millennials shape lifetime earnings potential in the first ten years in the labor market. The long term, subject-heavy study looked at the career paths of about five million workers over forty years. Written by
economists Fatih Guvenen, Fatih Krahan, Serdar Ozkan and Jae Song, they found that the jump in pay could be largely driven by steep learning curves early in your career. “At 25, I choose a job that allows me to learn valuable skills, Guvenen said. “I’m investing in my future, and my employer is allowing me to invest in my future. Soon, I’m producing more for my employer—and my employer is paying me more.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog Retrieved 11 February 2015.
The study went on to find that workers project to earn the median lifetime amount will see pay increases of 38% from age 25-55, with the strongest upward movement in the first decade. Workers in the 95th percentile can expect a 230% increase over the same period. Those
in the 99% percentile –the doctors, attorneys, engineers—will see earnings jump an incredible 1,450%.
The bottom fifth of workers, in which jobs are typically below the shoulders…tend to have jobs that are more physically demanding. The study showed the low-skilled jobs tend to experience an income decline from 25-55. In part, this is because the human body gets tired over
time. Your back begins to hurt. Your knees begin to ache. As a result, one becomes less and less productive.
Save your money and work hard in your beginning years of work.
23. Start investing in a retirement plan on your first day of work. Take advantage of your employers’ match plan and match it fully. Do not touch it. Leave the money alone and let it grow. You will be grateful for this once you reach retirement age.
24. Protect your reputation. Your reputation is priceless and irreplaceable. Think of the analogy of toothpaste coming out of the tube. Once the toothpaste is out, it cannot be put back into the tube. If you give your reputation away by ruining it, it may never return. Even if you forget that your reputation is dirtied, other folks will most likely remember…and never forget. It can take years to build back up, but can be gone in an instant.
KEY TO GOOD MANNERS IN LIFE: Honor thyself. Protect your reputation.
25. Show pride in your work. Every piece of work that comes with your name on it needs to be the epitome of professionalism. This means correct spelling and grammar throughout. Your syntax (constructional uses of a word or form or those characteristics of a particular author) need to be synchronized with the company’s values and the established use of the company’s grammatical construction. Finish your words when speaking. Focus on the end results.
If you cannot get something from work out of your head in order to relax at night, try writing it down. Keep a pad of paper or journal nearby. By writing, this will allow you to get the assumptions out of your head and on paper, which helps your mind take a break from thinking about it. Writing will also help you to sort through the complex sets of emotions and experiences that face us each day.
Part of the reason why writing helps us is because you are labeling the experience and your reaction (through writing it down) can make a difference in how you think about the experience. You are able to put the experience into perspective and perhaps find meaning in what happened. Most importantly, if you put the emotional confusion into words on paper, it is easier to get past it. You are able to sleep better, pay attention in other areas of your life, and even become a better friend.
26. Stacking some Zzzzzzz’s: Get a good night of sleep every night. The older you get, the more you will realize that your body and your brain need good, sound sleep. Not only does it make you feel better, it also helps your brain.
What your brain does while you sleep:
- Makes decisions
- Makes creative connections
- Creates and consolidates memories
- Clears out toxins
- Learns and remembers how to do a physical task
So get a good night of sleep every night. Each time you are sleep deprived, you can never get back the hours you lost. And your brain is counting on it!
27. Be the genuine person you are. It is important to be the person you are meant to be. Through all of the screaming, dreaming and scheming…at the end of the day, you want to be able to say to yourself, “I did the best I could today. I respected myself and others. I made a difference. And I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and do it again. I’m the luckiest person ever.” If you can have this type of attitude at the end of the day, then you probably are a good fit for the position you are in. If you cannot feel weary yet settled at the end of the day, then look for another avenue of work that may fit you better.
QUOTE: We need people who can solve problems in practical, respectful ways. Dr. Patricia Tice
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