A Road Map for Young AdultsIt all began with an e-mail from his daughter, Avery, with the subject line: "Is this okay to send?"
Avery had gotten her first post-college job as an assistant to the co-executive producer to a new network daytime TV talk show. She wanted to ask her new boss for a later start date so she would have more time to “tie up loose ends.”
So Carpenter sat down to write The Bigs. It is advice for recent college graduates and young professionals of course, but really for anyone working in the Bigs about the kinds of issues they will encounter. The book is not just a how-to book of bullet points, but it is filled with stories from Carpenter's own life that give the advice credibility and context. They are well worth reading to help you get your bearings.
Not all of the advice is new but it is the “uncommon sense” we all need to get along and influence the people around us in a positive way. Consider these thoughts:
• It is ironic this issue tripped me up so badly because I believe my normally rigorous adherence to my Golden Rule was a major reason, from early on, I was viewed as a leader at Greenwich Capital. The lesson is … always follow the Golden Rule and never say anything negative about anybody in your company. To do otherwise is unprofessional, unnecessary, and more often than not will come back to haunt you.
• Take responsibility for all mistakes you make and, if you are a competent and valued employee, when you do take responsibility it will be viewed as a sign of strength, not weakness, by your co-workers.
• Understand that how your boss views you will be largely a function of how your peers and subordinates see you.
• Whatever qualities you look for in a spouse, please include “a happy person” at or near the top of your list.
• While you are looking towards the future, and the goals you hope to accomplish, you need to appreciate the blessings you have today. Just like choosing to be happy, you can choose to appreciate what you have. If I could give one gift to those I love the most, it would be for them to always appreciate what they have.
• Leave you baggage at home. The insecurities and resentments from your childhood will just slow you down or, in some cases, sabotage your plans entirely. You are now a full grown man or woman and it is time to sand up, take responsibility, and start building the life you want to live. You may not yet have had a shock dramatic enough to make you drop your childhood baggage. However, you need to appreciate how stunningly different the real world is from your previous life as a student and seize this moment to make a fresh start.
• Choosing a career you can do well, rather than doing what you want, might sound unappealing, but it isn’t. The reason is the satisfaction you get from being good at your job. From my personal experiences, as well as observing family, friends, and co-workers, I know most professionals are most happy doing what they are good at.
• The most important advice I can give you about how to get a great job is to arrange for informational interviews with junior staff at a company before you have a job interview.
• In any good-sized company or department there should be no need to reinvent the wheel. Imitate the actions of the star employees and then use your creativity and talents to perform even better.
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