Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your thoughts on making the transition to the real world...

As you know I'm working with Engineers Without Borders at my school. Over the past few years, I've observed some things that students need to learn so as to make the transition to the real world. I want to incorporate it into how we at EWB do business.

For example, you've got to be able to jump on a moving train; rarely do you start at the beginning of a project, you come in somewhere in the middle.

I'm looking for your thoughts on the subject. Now it may be some time since you made the transition but you have probably seen others come into a company where you work and struggle with this or that. What is it they need to know?

So far I've come up with:
* Your decisions have consequences on others, no choice is made in a void.
* Punctuality is also how you show you care.
* You need to be able to talk to strangers (especially on the phone).
* There are four basic fears (failure, success, looking foolish and rejection); you have at least one, which one(s)? How are you going to deal?
* You can't ignore the money and live in an idealized world.
* You must be able to function with incomplete information.
* When you start your job, you are part of an already functioning business. Your start is not the start of the business, so you will have to jump into an operation that is already in motion.

Or share nice expressions that have been helpful to you, one boss gave me these two:
# Accuracy is the price of admission.
# Speed is the currency of the future.

I know you are all a bunch of Gurus, so put on your Swami cap and give me your thoughts?


sam said...

thats all good stuff. dont forget politics... you cant avoid it, that reality of any organization beyond a pair/couple

Coaster Punchman said...

Oh God Martin, this is too heavy for me. It makes me nervous to think about this stuff.

Here are a few off the top o' my head:

1. Don't be a "that's not my job" person, especially when you are brand new. Not only does everyone hate those people, but you are likely too young and inexperienced to be pronouncing what is and isn't your job. Do whatever you can to help your colleagues, both senior and at your level, and treat each event as an opportunity to learn.

2. Once you have been at it a while you can learn a way to set appropriate boundaries in case colleagues decide to take advantage of your helpful nature. But don't be too eager about this step too soon in the process.

3. Be professional and friendly to everyone you come into contact with at work. You never know which one of these people may be your boss, or which one of these people may one day be in a position to help (or harm) you.

4. Listen to the gossip but try not to repeat it or to join in badmouthing someone, even if it's someone you don't like. It's ok to laugh when others say things just so you don't marginalize yourself, but try not to participate too much. That kind of thing just breeds negativity which we don't need.

(Please note that I adhere to almost none of these points, although I still think they are good advice.)

cathouse teri said...

Gosh, I think I mispalced my Swami cap!

Thanks for dropping by, though. :)

Jewels said...

Success is 1 part inspiration, and 99 parts perspiration.

Yeah, yeah, I know, but honestly, am I right?

Take initiative. I think this falls under C.P.'s "that's not my job". Don't just sit there waiting for your next assignment, take initiative, and make things happen.

That's managing your time, money, and yourself. ;)
(And yes, I live in an organized world, where everything can be found at my finger tips!) LOL!

JeSais said...

Don't be afraid to leave a job or a company where you are miserable. You have to spend 8+ hours a day there, it better be something you like doing, and with people that lift you up and don't keep you down.

Creativity is imperative in EVERY job.

Jewgirl said...

I agree with a lot of what you said. I like what your boss suggested. He made really valid points.

Sam, you're right re: politics. Regardless of the situation you enter, there are always politics, even in the freelance world.

CP, hilar as ever and spot on.

lulu said...

make sure you give credit where credit is due--don't be the guys who steals ideas and doesn't give attribution.

send thank you notes.

no one needs to know about your personal life.

be on time. half of life is being on time and having a pen.