I will be delivering a keynote address at the Young Professionals Summit this summer. In preparing for this mind meld of Gen Y awesomeness, it crossed my mind to conclude my presentation with some words of advice. Having positive mentors is important to career development. It is always beneficial to learn from the mistakes of others so you do not have to make them yourself.
The blogosphere is run amok with lists of ways to be more effective in your career development. Today, I figured I would tell you what not to do.....
Don't Make a Bad First Impression!
It seems silly but first impressions stick forever (especially with Executives). Some times you get caught off guard and at times your nerves get the best of you. Be aware that a run-in may occur and be ready.
Advice: When meeting an Executive for the first time be brief and brilliant! Don't attempt to be funny, don't site a blog he/she wrote (that's creepy), and don't promote yourself.
Don't Promote Yourself!
Early in my career I was the master of self-promotion (not in a good way). Every time I had an audience I was displaying my skill, touting my workplace excellence, or asking questions to showcase that I knew the answer.
Advice: Do your fighting in the ring! People know when you have done well, bragging about yourself only conveys that you are not a team player. No one likes a show off.
Don't Be an Asshole!
If you watch enough TV, you may put yourself in the villain's position. It is a dog eat dog world and you must have an edge to endure...right? Wrong!
Advice: Be humble in victory and accountable in defeat! No one wins alone, share your success. People know when they have failed, don't amplify their mistakes.
Don't Do The Safe Thing!
Take chances! Don't be a coward! Doing things the safe way will only minimize your talent. You have to be willing to fail to learn how to grow.
Advice: Take every opportunity to grow your skill set. Don't allow the possibility of failure to deter you from trying new things.
Don't Be Negative!
I am always enlightened by people who can turn my day around with their positivity. There are people lined up around the block to complain about what isn't going well. It takes courage to be positive!
Advice: Be the person who sees opportunity in everything, don't allow the negativity of others to limit your effort.
Don't Believe The Hype!
Every company has a way of doing things. There are those who will point to what the company does well and encourage you to stay in that box. This is solid advice (it is also totally boring). Your company cannot grow if you don't blaze a new trail.
Advice: Be the first person to volunteer to try new things...and make it work!
Don't Live A Life of Quiet Desperation!
If you see a co-worker who is having a rough day offer a simple word of encouragement. People have lives that extend far beyond their silly little job. A pat on the back might make all the difference in the world.
Advice: There is no need to get over-personal, just tell someone everything is going to be OK.
It is as simple as that. Sometimes the most successful trait we can possess is the knowledge of how to get out of our own way.
Don't Forget to Remember!