Things I Wish I Had Known

December 15 2011

Regret is not a good feeling, but we all experience it at one time or another. There are a few things I wish I had known as I was starting my career. You need to have regrets to learn, but why not skip over a few by taking some advice from someone who has made plenty of mistakes.

“Honesty is the best policy.”
This may seem simple, but it’s so easy to exaggerate things. Situation #1: When you’re selling your company’s products or services to clients, it is so easy to answer their questions with statements that are exaggerated or untrue to gain their business. But this will only lead to additional problems, your ruined reputation, and sleepless nights. Situation #2: Your boss’s job is to question you, sometimes more often than you would like. It seems much easier to occasionally twist the facts with your boss when you want him/her to think of you in a higher light. But results do not lie and the bottom line will prove your credibility, so it’s actually easier to be completely upfront with your boss and suck it up from the beginning.

“Ask for permission, not forgiveness.”
The old saying, “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” is a recipe for disaster. Remember, you work for someone else. Your gambles are the company’s gambles. Although you may get lucky and your rash decisions could be the best bet, it is much safer to get your supervisor’s buy-in before making drastic decisions. With permission, you have the support of your company behind you, which is much better than standing alone.

“Never write an email while angry.”
Angry emails are childish. This is a situation where, yes, you may feel better for a brief time period, but in the end, who really is the winner? Emails are still written proof of your childish behavior, so they could be used as evidence. The recipient could easily forward your harsh words to your boss, resulting in disciplinary action. The best thing to do is wait a day or two before responding to your client, customer, co-worker, or whomever the disruptive party may be. Or, better yet, call that person. Talking is less traceable. Plus, the tone of an email can be misconstrued. Maybe a quick phone call can clear the air.

“Niceness matters.”
People want to work with positive people. When you shun others, act snobby, or make others feel uncomfortable, they simply do not want to be around you. Creating an uncomfortable environment is actually a form of harassment. It’s much easier and more safe to smile and be pleasant. This goes without saying when it comes to clients. As a reminder, the customer is always right, bite your tongue when you get angry, and SMILE!

“Save the drama for your Mama!”
To go along with the last piece of advice, “Niceness matters,” removing yourself from the office drama matters as well. As interesting as office gossip can be, do not involve yourself. You want to be a fellow employee that people can trust and being involved in the office “clique” immediately disqualifies you as trustworthy. The office is not the place to be involved in personal issues. Especially stay away from Drama Queens and troublemakers; the last thing you want is your boss associating you with the “bad seeds” in the office. You can kindly dismiss yourself from conversations that take a bad turn.

“Do not work away your life.”
You should work hard to play hard. It is easy to work away the days and forget to take care of yourself. Although some professions require excessive hours by nature, most people can find ways to work smarter and leave time for their personal lives. If you work hard every minute you are at work, you can justify leaving the office at a normal hour. A healthy, happy employee is much more valuable than a stressed, worn down employee. There will always be that one person in the office who leaves the latest and makes you feel guilty about having a life outside, but your life is more important. As long as you are getting your job done, then take a break! If you are not completing your job, then you either need to work more effectively or your company needs to provide you with more support.

“Choose a path and stick with it.”
Changing your career is usually necessary to move up through the ranks, but it is best to stay on the same professional path throughout your career so your resume makes sense. Professionals who move around through multiple industries confuse employers. Being a Jack of all trades and the master of none is not attractive to future employers.

This is all for now, but I will continue to learn with you!

Comments Off on Things I Wish I Had Known