The New Rules for Succeeding at Your First Job
9. Double-check yourself. Did you spell that client's name right? Have you done everything on your to-do list? Does your boss have everything he needs for the meeting tomorrow? (Power cords—always remember the power cords.)
10. Present problems the right way. Stuff happens. Bosses know this. Here's what they want when you've screwed up: First, an apology. (Note: "Yeah, sorry" is not an apology.) Second, a recap of the problem. (This shows that you know what happened and how serious it is.) Third, a summary of the steps you've taken to fix it. (You may not have succeeded, but you should have tried.) Fourth, an explanation of what you'll do differently in the future to avoid this happening again.
11. Use the systems that make everyone's life easier—not just yours. You don't like Google Documents because you have to check one more email? That is unfortunate. That is not an excuse to make 20 other people start emailing documents.
12. No. Giant. Headphones. (Unless your space is really noisy.)
13. No. Tiny. Tank tops. (Unless...no, actually, never.)
14. Remember your boss's plate. This is the number one rule of your first job: A task will stay on your boss's mind if she has to ask you whether it's done, double-check or nag you. You don't want to bury your boss in details, but the minute you know you aren't going to finish something on time, tell her. As you complete a project, tell her. You may think, "I do most of my stuff right, why doesn't she trust me?" Here's why: If she doesn't know which few things you're going to botch, all your tasks are still on her plate.
If you follow all these rules in your first job, you'll be surprised at how quickly you can move up to your second job.
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Published on October 06, 2011