We all wish we had started our first professional jobs knowing everything we needed to know that would successfully launch us on upward career paths. If only! Instead, time, experience and perhaps a few mistakes have equipped us. And those of us who have been in the trenches a while owe it to newbies to share some of that knowledge. Here are words of wisdom for new recruits, but these are also important life lessons that seasoned veterans should revisit from time to time.
Connect with people. Regardless of what you do for a living, you must interact with other people. Too often we resort to digital communication (emailing, texting, etc.), but nothing replaces face-to-face interaction in building trust and relationships. Your reputation as a team player depends on your ability to be kind, to tell the truth and to apologize when necessary. Forming effective bonds with your coworkers is also one of the best ways to learn.
Work hard. You’ve heard this one before, right? Well, it’s as true today as it was when you were in grade school. When you start a new job, work hard to learn the process. Not only will it endear you to project managers and supervisors, but it shows your eagerness and will make you super-efficient. Your willingness to buckle down and get things done will give you the confidence to take on an extra project or find time in your busy schedule to help a colleague, which can lead to growth and advancement.
Network outside your network. Attending industry networking events can be valuable, but leaving your comfort zone to meet people in other fields can open your mind to new possibilities. In creative fields like PR and advertising, we are always looking for fresh concepts and unique experiences that can benefit our clients. Travel and extracurricular interests can also broaden your background. Diversity of thinking leads to true innovation.
Persist, then persist some more. Be persistent, resilient and stubborn. Let your intuition lead the way. You will make mistakes, but try again and again until you get it right or until you find a better path to solving the problem at hand.
Take care of yourself. Work hard and play hard. It’s not always possible to maintain the ideal work-life balance, so use all your vacation days. Avoid being tethered to your electronic devices. Give your brain a break every single day.
Enjoy the journey. Celebrate the big and little things. Laugh...a lot. Find the humor in life. And if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, be brave and make a change. It might just be time to stop saying “if only” and ask “what if?”