Things young professionals should know
There's no doubt that success compliments hard work. However, as women, it seems sometimes we have to work twice as hard to get the respect that we deserve in the workplace. Entering the professional work world shortly after undergrad was an eye opener for me. Below are a few things I have experienced and learned during my short time as a young professional.
- If you want to be taken serious, you have to look the part .
- Thankfully for my sorority, mentors, and FSU career service department . I firmly understandthe difference between casual, business casual , and business professional(and at this stage in your life , you should too). Many women, especially young women fail in this department. In one of my roles, I was responsible for interviewing potential candidates; it was always a turn off to watch a girl get up to come in the office pulling her skrit down several time. If you are feeling self-conscious, that's not the appropriate outfit for you. If you can wear it in the club, it must certainly isn't the outfit for an interview !! If it's for an interview or if you have the job with consistent meetings. You want your male counterparts to respect you and take you seriously. But most importantly you want your female counterparts to respect you and not to think you are the office "slut " or an attention seeker ( hey, I'm just telling you what they're saying !!). Don't get me wrong, of course; you want to look cute, who doesn't but remember ladies there are different types of cute for every occasion .
- Self Improvement , is always good.
- "You know its real when you are , who think you are" I mean Drake , nailed it with that line (lol). No but for real , I remember telling people before graduation I was going to find a good paying job and that was that . Many laughed and told me not to get my hopes up , and to me I felt that meant in a nutshell limit yourself. At 22 I had over 30 people reporting to me. Some old enough to be my grandparents and who should probably own the company.Within four years of being with my company I have had 3 promotions and moved four times (paid relocation ). With every promotion , I try to learn from the previous position to make me better for the current and ready for the next . Along with self evaluation , I did a lot of fundamental reading that inspired me to be a better leader ; The New One Minute Manager, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done , and Instant Turnaround!: Getting People Excited About Coming to Work and Working Hard ( probably my fav). Long story short set a goal and do everything possible to reach it . Only you can stop you , and if you're having trouble finding your niche I highly recommend T.D Jakes Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive.
- When and when not to speak
- I have watched many colleagues put their foot in their mouth and its pretty embarrassing ( but then my petty side comes and I think " that's what you get "). My last boss was very straight forward and not with opinions. He only wanted to hear suggestions or complaints if you could back them up with ROI (return on investment). Don't tell him something will not work ,if you didn't have a good explanation why it wouldn't work and what will work and how it will work. Now don't get me wrong please share your ideas but know what kind of meeting you're in . If you're in open floor/brainstorming type meeting by all means let the ideas rip!! If you're in a very conservative meeting , come prepare to share your ideas and being able to answer any questions/concerns that comes your way and if you don't have the answer but you believe in your idea .Seek the answer, test the idea and come back to share (admitting if it work or if it didn't).
- Paper trail is a must !!
- I have so many different folders for my emails so that I can keep projects separate and emails from key people easy to find. When working on a project that consists more than five people, you always want to save email conversation. Because it never fails that someone is going to "forget" or my favorite " I didn't see that email " ( Office 365 allows you to send emails with a read receipt ). Also, have a flash drive to save everything on there too, technology can be so iffy at times.
- Lunch is for me time or networking
- Me personally I enjoy eating alone, just so I can take a step back and reflect on my morning and handle some personal things . I have never been big on eating with the team; for one I feel awkward all the time because I HATE talking about work when I'm on break or gossiping about the next person. However, lunch is a great thing when you can network with some key players that can help you move in the right direction.
- Happy Hour is still work
- Never attend after work Happy hours, just because the next day you will always hear the office discussing how many drinks " Jane Doe might have had " or " John dancing on the table ." Don't get me wrong if you enjoy afterwork happy hour, then, by all means, please enjoy! Just do everything with class and taste. I like to keep work at work and my personal life my personal life. This approach has always kept me from being involved with any shady business that occurs at work as well as you just never know who is watching.