- As soon as you can set up your 401K, do it. Don’t waste one minute. It’s free money. I went with the roth because I’d rather the government tax it now when I can’t see it versus when I’m old and senile wanting to withdraw money. I want to make it as easy for myself to handle.
- If your company offers to send you to a convention or an appointment, you bet your bottom I’d never refuse. You better get your butt on that plan, train, ship too. Sometimes you need to start out doing grunt work like sitting solo at a booth on a convention floor for your Halloween weekend while your colleagues brush elbows with big wigs and eat little finger sandwiches and take pictures with Katie Couric. No, I’m not bitter because I’m the one who gets to do lunch in LA with Fox, Sony, and Paramount next week.
- No matter how bored, how awful your boss is, or how long your commute is you MUST stay at your first job out of college for at least 2 years. I’ve heard this from college professors, from Vice Presidents, from everyone. This should be common knowledge by now. Being employed somewhere for that long after college shows commitment. You’d be surprised how many kids get their degree and are lucky enough to land a job quickly but quit after 6 months because they “don’t like it”. You don’t like making money or building a foundation for your career? You just don’t want to adult and will forever miss Thirsty Thursdays…
- Connect. Connect. Connect. Utilize your LinkedIn. Connect with anyone in your company, even if they work 3000 miles away. You need people to learn your name and if they have a picture to associate it with then your even more ahead of the game. Connect with clients and anyone you’ve worked with externally as soon as you exchange an email or a phone call. It’s not creepy because it’s networking. Imagine you’re ready for the next step in your career and you know that you want to for Nike next. How the hell do you get a job at Nike? You have to know someone and you have a connection on LinkedIn who’s working there and can get your resume on someone’s desk. That’s how you get a job at Nike. It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.
- Come in early and stay late. Find out your boss’s schedule and make sure to come in before them some days. They’re not going to send out an email to the entire company commending you or even applaud you but they will notice, though, you might not feel like they do. They notice everything. They know who the employees are who come in at 9:00 and leave right at 5:00 just to get a paycheck. Care about your work.
- You should always get drinks with your coworkers at the end of the day for more than one reason. First reason would be that you got an invitation to the inner circle. They like you. They really really like you so don’t mess it up. Second reason, you learn so much more about the companies structure when people are drinking. You learn who likes who, who hates who, who’s doing a good job, and who’s on their way out. Finally, you know the guy who talks way too loud and refuses to leave his desk to take his calls even though all four conference rooms are open? He’s not that bad. He’s pretty funny and he always buys the table a round.Caution: Make sure you know your limit with alcohol consumption. You don’t want to be known as the guy who got hammered at the Holiday Party and proceeded to give himself a sobriety check by butchering his ABCs.Drink a water in between beers. And, instead of getting a shitty reputation because you had one too many, let you work do the talking and let it be what you’re known for.
- Be a sponge. Never put both headphones in your ears. If you’re in an open office, you can hear the collaboration by the minute. Listen to pieces of conference calls and sales pitches and designers talking about whatever programs they use. There’s always more to learn. Ask questions. Speak up. Give feedback. Make yourself useful to others outside of your department as well.
- Know your role. If you’ve been with the company for less than two years, I wouldn’t tell the Director of Sales that the whole department has been doing everything wrong. The company was here before you and most likely will still be around long after you. If you have an idea, share it, but try to not step on too many toes. Us Millennials aren’t as welcomed into the workforce as Gen X is/was. We’re known as lazy, sarcastic know-it-alls. All I’m saying is don’t limit your growth by having a big mouth.
- Be honest. You’re having your annual review and your boss asks you where you see yourself a year from now. If you see yourself far far away from the desk you sit at now then share that. It’s scary but you’ll be damn proud of yourself. Your boss will be, too. More often than not they’re blindsided with two weeks notices. Don’t think that speaking up and saying you’re not content in your current position is something bad and will get your fired right on the spot. Tell them you’re thinking about starting to look for another job because of genuine reasons. Reasons like you feel like you haven’t learned anything new in months, or because you don’t see any more growth for yourself within the company, or because you don’t feel appreciated enough. If something can be changed to keep you happy and make you stay, I bet 9 times out of 10 your boss will try their best to do that for you. It’s cheaper for them to keep you than to spend time and money training someone new. Time is money.
- Always negotiate your salary and bonuses every review you get. Be prepared for that and have reasons and the numbers to back up why you deserve more money. A really interesting article about negotiating salaries came out recently on The Huffington Post. It had great tips but the first line was very disheartening:
As women executives, many of us are aware of the troubling statistics that show that as few as 7% of us negotiate our salaries.
I guess as a whole women don’t think they should negotiate because they trust their employers to pay them what they deserve. Ladies, since when does life work like that? Never. If I got what I thought I deserved, then I’d be married to Orlando Bloom and there would be wine in one hand and a bon bon in the other while he rubs my feet. Oh, and I’d have the body of a Victoria Secret model but I’d eat cheeseburgers and buffalo chicken calzones everyday and not get fat. You only get what you deserve by working your butt off and fighting for it. As a college graduate, I didn’t negotiate and it’s one of my biggest regrets. Don’t let employers take advantage because you feel like you haven’t proven how worthy you are. It’ll show you have guts, if you negotiate. You’re fresh out of school and they haven’t been in school for a while. You could teach them a thing or two- believe that.