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Advice to share with your graduate

A reader asked: Jeff, my parents introduced me to your columns when I was in college. It has been a big help, both personally and with my classes. Thanks! As I get ready to enter the “real world,” what’s your advice as I prepare for my first job?

I answered: Congrats! You’re about to embark on an exciting journey. While it has been said, “All you need to know you learned in kindergarten,” I realize that it’s reinforced in grammar school.

When our youngest child, Amanda, was a fourth-grader, we visited her class, where I picked up a copy of her school’s “Guide to Parent, School and Student Roles and Responsibilities.” It had some simple yet powerful tips for success in the classroom that also will serve you well in your new corporate life.

To be successful:

• Meet deadlines.

• Be on time.

• Read.

• Set a time for “homework.”

• Be prepared and honest.

• Make good choices.

• Listen, discuss, then solve issues.

• Use a variety of resources.

• Try before quitting.

• Challenge yourself.

• Have a positive attitude.

• Respect others and their property.

And here are a few more suggestions from me:

• Do the unexpected.

• Do the right thing.

• Contribute to others’ success.

• Treasure this first experience, be a sponge, ask lots of questions.

• Help others attain a more favorable future (your internal and external customers).

• Volunteer, raise your hand and say, “I can do that!”

• Improve your communication skills (oral and written) daily.

• Smile. Nobody likes working with a grouch.

• Don’t think your opinion doesn’t matter because you’re “new.” If you think there’s a better way, share it.

• Don’t gossip.

• Don’t show up to get a paycheck — instead, make a difference.

Jeff Blackman is an Illinois-based speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. Email him at [email protected].

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