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What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?”
Learn how to talk to and email higher-ups, and start learning how to navigate the world of office politics.
Learning how to talk to and email them is key. The worst is not being clear and concise, and if it frustrates them, you’ll get annoyed by the response back about how they didn’t understand anything you told them.
(Listen, I get this a lot. I still haven’t learned how to do this perfectly but I am trying. I can’t help but want to be ACCURATE and PRECISE in everything I am saying but their eyes glaze over at a certain point because they don’t have the expertise that I do.)
I really am not good at being political, and I am open (can you tell?) as well as brutally honest. That is my core nature, to tell it like it is even if it hurts (I cannot help it, it is a flaw and a gift at the same time). However, not everyone wants to hear that. THEY SAY THEY DO… but they don’t. Pick your audience, or at least modify your words.
I wear a ring (like the one above in the photo) and play with it to distract myself from saying something I should not.
Honesty is good, but you have to learn tact along with it (I have almost none, had to grow it), and sometimes keeping your mouth shut / being diplomatic is the best way out even if you are BURNING with anger and stress inside to let it all burst out in one huge fiery rant like a rabid dragon high on dragonsbane.
Speaking for a friend…. of course.
As for what advice to AVOID?
Don’t suck up, is one.
I mean, suck up a little — who doesn’t? But no one likes a colleague who throws them under the bus, takes the credit and tries to outshine everyone at the expense of their souls.
Be a good person, think about what you’d like if you were in their shoes, and while you are absolutely 100% entitled to snag all the credit when due, be humble enough to give some of it away.
Don’t listen to advice that says otherwise — giving credit to others where it is due, and being humble, are not signs of weakness and are signs of strength — that you have confidence in yourself enough to not be the limelight hog all the time.
(Yes, I also had to learn this, especially when I was younger. Even now I have to shut my mouth and think before I speak which is very, very VERY hard for me as I am an open book.)
What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
I love watching cooking shows like Top Chef while I eat. I think it makes my food taste better, and whether that is true or not.
I get inspired food-wise and salivate more anyway.
In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
Keeping my big mouth SHUT.
Silence is your friend, people. At least, it is becoming an acquaintance of mine.
I am super opinionated, and from a lifetime of being repressed and from being the quiet, shy, chubby kid sitting at the back of the class to who I am today (myself, confident AF and HAPPY), it is a really really hard thing to try and cram myself back into a shell of silence sometimes.
I just need to learn that SILENCE is a good thing. Don’t say anything.
Stare them down.
People love to fill in awkward silences, and to give in to you when you just sit there and not say a thing.
Still have a burning question?