Do yourself a favor and read this post. I’ve consolidated years of great advice about success in the workplace from fantastic mentors. Let me share some of their knowledge to you, the future of health care.
Here’s what I wished I knew before my first job:
- First impressions matter. Dress to impress. Be happy. NOBODY wants to work with Oscar the grouch. Keep your Outlook inbox organized from the beginning and develop a system that won’t break when the work pace increases. Pay close attention to detail. It won’t matter unless you mess up. Always carry a notepad around to take notes.
- Start talking to people who are where you want to be. Get comfortable communicating with people more accomplished than you. Often times, friends tell me stories of awkward informational interviews. Solution? Stop being awkward. They’re human beings too, with all the problems associated. If you run out of substantive material, talk about sports, talk about their career, talk about the weather. At the end, thank them and ask for referrals to other high-performing colleagues.
- For the first few weeks of your job/internship, you will be a burden. Just try to be a small one and learn quickly. Attempt everything multiple times BEFORE asking for help. However, don’t just sit there spinning your wheels. If you have a question, make sure you’ve seriously attempted answering it yourself before asking. And always write down the answer so you don’t have to ask again.
- ALWAYS print your work first before presenting it to your superiors or clients. You wouldn’t believe how many formatting errors will fly off the page. Also, use spell check. This goes for PowerPoint and Excel too. Yes, Excel has spellcheck.
- Be a genuinely kind person. Yes you went to a ‘highly ranked’ graduate school. No you are not automatically more capable. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Being an awful person and becoming hugely successful are not correlated. Model your behavior off respectable peers and it will pay dividends. Everyone is part of the promotion process, make sure they’re on your side.
- Most bosses preach a work-life balance. They will speak of flexibility in completing assignments or projects. However, some of them would be very impressed if you finished it by tomorrow. Figure out who those bosses are and manage your workload accordingly.
- Identify who makes the decisions. In every workplace, there are a few individuals who run the show. Sometimes independent of job title, these players consistently work with the most important clients. Once they’re identified, build relationships with them. Put in extra effort when producing work for them. Their recommendation will become your greatest organizational asset.
- If you mess up, learn from it and move on. Everyone makes mistakes don’t be too hard on yourself. We all blow things out of proportion. Even though colleagues may give you a hard time, I guarantee you that no one is thinking about the mistake as much as you are. Think about the reverse scenario. Now get back to work.
Good luck everyone and stay connected on twitter @BookofAndy