Making that first move from motherland to the real world
Succeeding in a job … advice you can share
“When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Over the next few weeks and months, many will be starting in their first job – be it for the summer, the first opportunity after graduation from college or high school or other situation. It is truly an exciting period, and at the same time, scary as hell. Work is so different; the rules are different as are the expectations. Making that critical adjustment or better yet – transition – from home/school to work will define the success of one in their career.
So how can you – Mom, Dad, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, grandparent, friend – help?
Set them on their way with sage advice. No, not just to wear clean underwear or show up on time (though this is critical: one minute late is like an hour – make sure they know this), but rather, the norms of behavior and conduct that will set them up for continued career success.
Over 40 years ago my late father-in-law, Vito Pitanello, offered me a few pearls of wisdom that have had a profound effect on our lives:
… Never undermine your boss
… Work harder than the next guy
… Always have a shine on your shoes (I still do that every day)
This sage advice has stayed with me throughout my life and I encourage you to share it with others to help in their transition, as well as a few more tips below:
Check entitlement at the door – I know it is curt, but it’s so true. Many people have a sense of entitlement that when projected in a new job, can be career ending. Teach others that they are only as good as what they did today, not yesterday or any other time, and they have no entitlement and should not expect that. If any tip I offer is to be deemed most important, it is this one as this is a huge problem in Generation Y (born 1982-2003).
Mind your manners and always be respectful – Remember to smile as you encounter a fellow worker and especially a customer. Remember the golden words: Please and thank you. Treat others with respect always and call those out who are not being respectful, directly and politely.
Listen – Listen - Listen – Learn the new person role: Shut up and listen before you offer advice or commentary. No one likes a person who walks in, knows nothing and begins to tell others how they should be doing things differently. Learn first – then talk!
Observe – Every place of work has a culture; the manner in which people communicate and interact with others, conduct their business, serve the mission and project themselves to the outside community. Carefully observe this and know what is expected of you as you engage and become a part of your new workplace culture.
Don’t be part of the grapevine – Gossiping about others or the workplace is a career killer. Don’t get entangled in the grapevine; the “underground” communication that is usually harmful and full of garbage. Align with positive people in the workplace who have shared interests and values.
Play the role and live by the rules – You are in new waters now and the rules are different and how you play them are critical. Your schedule is dictated by your job; never be late without a damn good excuse; never be late for a customer. Show up dressed for work, not the beach (learn the dress code, too). No texting means just that – no texting! Put your phone out of sight. Annoyed by text messages at work? Try a text auto responder with a message like “Hi, I am working and cannot answer your text. If this is an emergency, CALL ME at XXX-XXXX.” Best yet, it is free or (paid version $1.99): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jmarstudios.txtautoresponder.android
Deadlines mean just that – do it or be dead – Okay, maybe not dead, but certainly not favored if you miss them. Meet – no, beat your deadlines – and show your commitment.
Write it down – Oh, please, don’t commit a responsibility to memory - write it down. Ask questions to clarify. Know what is expected of you. Never assume you know it; be sure you know it. If you are observed writing a task down, your boss and others will feel that you get it and not wonder if you were listening.
Be proud – have fun – You made it! You got your job, if only for the summer or a few years if starting out, but be proud of what you have accomplished and celebrate!
I hope these ideas and tips are helpful in guiding someone along during this life transition. And thank you for reading this.
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. You can reach him at 641.8968 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.next-act.com