My father was a great man and a hard worker. He wasn’t rich, but the riches he shared about the working world and finding work have served me well in my career. Some kernels of wisdom from a man I respected and loved:
Make good friends while you’re in school
Don’t study so hard that you forget about creating friendships in school. Remember, some of your friends may become more successful than you through sheer luck and persistence. If you’re studying the same things, they may be in similar or identical fields in the working world. If that’s the case, they may be able to help you find a job.
If times are tough, apply to jobs you may not like
If you’re just starting out and times are tough, tough it out by taking a job you may not like. At least one of two things will happen: You may end up liking the job and staying there. You will gain valuable experience in working with people or tasks that are not perfect. Imagine how you’ll perform once you land a job you really like when times improve.
If you think you’re too good for a job, chances are the opposite is true
Just because you did well in college and you’re quick witted, doesn’t mean the job you end up with is beneath you. Your professors may have praised you. But you’re still a kid with very little real world experience. There are things about a job that you won’t see in a job description. You’ll be surprised how much you don’t know when you first start a job. Any job. Be humble and listen.
Don’t chase money. It can seduce you in all the wrong ways
When you first start out, you’ll be temped to accept the highest paying job. You’ll want to impress your friends, but money can change you in ways that may put off your friends and family. Money can steer your career in the wrong direction and make you do things you never thought you’d do.
Look better than the person you’re meeting for an interview
Dress better than the interviewer but don’t try to be too fashionable. Stand out as a job seeker, not a fashion seeker. Improve the weakest link in your appearance—be it clothes, adornments, hair—everything down to your smile.
Speak better than the person you’re meeting for an interview
Put away the colloquialisms and forget the slang. Even if your interviewer speaks this way, use the language of business and speak like the president of the company. You may someday become one. You might as well get used to it now.
Talk to old people who have worked in your chosen career
Resist the urge to hang around only with young people seeking a job in your field. Talk to old workers who have worked the 80-hour weeks and climbed the corporate ladder. Seek their advice. Times may have changed but people have not. Older people can help you steer clear of the many “landmines” in your chosen profession.
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