Last Updated Apr 2, 2010 8:12 AM EDT
I wasn't one of those college students who had a grand master plan about the future. In fact, I was jealous of my roommate Debra, who knew she wanted to be a doctor practically from birth. The truth is, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I just tried stuff that seemed interesting. My Dad was a stock and options trader on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, so there was an easy path to taste that world. When I was in college, I thought TV news was cool, so I talked my way into an internship at the local NBC affiliate in Providence, RI.
From an early age, one thing became clear about my fledgling career: working hard for people often paid great dividends. In return for hard work, I found that managers wanted to give me something--maybe it was a quick pep-talk after an especially brutal trading day or perhaps an editing lesson on a slow news day. Looking back, the relationships that I formed in those early years went beyond "networking"--they were the building blocks upon which my career was created.
At the end of the talk, the students ask that I blog about the visit and some of the lessons I learned on the way. So here goes--Jill's Career Lessons (so far!):
- Work hard at your relationships-not the quantity but the quality
- Networking is great, but it should be bilateral, don't always ask-give something back!
- Maximize every opportunity: identify what you like and don't like about the job at hand
- Honor your calling or profession by trying to do best work you can
- Be genuine to yourself and your style
- Trust your gut: analysis is great, but if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't
- Have a willingness to master your given job before trying to improve it
- Create the job you want to have
- Be open to new routes and take chances, but don't dig in
- Be willing to admit/see when it's not working
- Know when to move on and leave well
- When you don't know something, ask for help
- Accept that sometimes clients or colleagues don't listen
- Develop a thick skin, especially if you're in the client business
- Respect your competition
Image by Flickr User tibchris, CC 2.0