The best thing I’ve read all week? Guy Kawasaki’s guide to navigating the real world.
Seeing as I’m about to truly step into that realm, I’m really taking it to heart!
In college, you’re supposed to bring problems to your teachers during office hours, and you share the experience of coming up with a solution. In the real world, you’re supposed to bring solutions to your boss in an email, in the hall, or in a five-minute conversation.
How to have a conversation – Generally, “What do you do?” unleashes a response that leads to a good conversation (hence the recommendation below). Generally, if you listen more than you talk, you will (ironically) be considered not only a good conversationalist but also smart.
What about freeloaders? (Those scum of the earth that don’t do anything for the group.) In school you can let them know how you truly feel. You can’t in the real world because bozos have a way of rising to the top of many organizations, and bozos seek revenge. The best solution is to bite your tongue, tolerate them, and try to never have them on the team again, but there’s little upside in criticizing them.
First, slowly say your telephone number once at the beginning of your message and again at the end… Second (and this applies to email too), always make progress. Never leave a voicemail or send an email that says, “Call me back, and I’ll tell you what time we can meet.” Just say, “Tuesday, 10:00 am, at your office.”
I am pretty sure I’ve left messages where I’ve completely (despite my intentions) forgotten to mention crucial info, such as my number. Taking the initiative to progress the conversation is also really important – I tend to defer to others, especially as I usually deal with people busier than me, and bend over backwards to organise arrangements that suit them. Which of course can result in a lot of running around in circles…
Also, a great post I stumbled across today on Jezebel dealt pretty comprehensively with how to go about finding out what you’re worth and how to negotiate. As you can tell, I’m starting to freak out about graduating!