The khaki days are over and it’s now time to join the labour pool proper. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom gleaned from professionals who have spent time on different rungs of the ladder:
1. This isn’t the time to worry about how fulfilling a job is. That will come later. For now, you need to start working so you have a chance to explore your strengths, deal with your shortcomings, learn how to be part of a team, gain experience, and of course earn a living. So if an okay job comes along, take it.
2. Learn how to keep your private life private when you’re at work. Don’t tell everybody your personal challenges.
3. There’s no alternative to hard work, and there are no shortcuts to the process. You must put in the hours.
4. There is something you can do better than other people. Working allows you to explore, and locate that specialty. Find it. Hone it. Polish it until you can see your reflection in it. Aim to be the best at it.
5. Avoid procrastination, it will rob you. Do it right now, or at least today.
6. Big breaks are overrated. Not everyone takes that route, and it’s not necessarily the best. Success is cumulative. You’re most likely going to build your career one block on top of another. It all adds up.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it doesn’t make you foolish. Pretending to know when you don’t know is the real foolishness. If you don’t know what someone is talking about, ask.
8. Be awesome with your junior colleagues and subordinates. How you treat those who work under you, says a lot about you. Don’t lose your temper at work.
9. The late Joan Rivers once said, “Any form of complacency is the kiss of death for any professional.” This simply means you must resist the temptation to rest on your oars or feel like you’ve arrived. Always be on top of your game.
10. If you’re a secretary or a personal/executive assistant, always be charming and polite on the phone.
11. Your associations matter when it comes to your career. It’s okay to separate yourself from people who aren’t going your way.
12. On this journey that is your career, you will meet people who will be instrumental to your growth and success, so treat everyone you meet properly, manage relationships wisely, and learn how to keep in touch. A simple email or text message every now and then goes a long way. When it comes to communication, write only the positive things. Don’t put the negative things in writing, say them in person.