1. Take notes.
Never stop taking notes. Never say, "I don't have a pen or a notebook." Never ever say, "I remember more when I concentrate on listening instead of note-taking."
2. While you're taking notes, star anything that needs to be done by you.
Your boss isn't going to wave a flag or jump around every time she assigns you something new. It's up to you to add it to your list and find a way to get it done.
3. See the future.
Become the one with the crystal ball. Because work is not just about the task at hand. It's about what happens next. For instance, if your boss asks you to finish printing an annual report for the L.A. office, you need to realize it has to be overnighted. Which means the next step is getting it to the mail room before it closes at 6 p.m. Meaning, you now have a deadline.
4. Treat everyone, especially your manager, like a client.
Anyone who works in marketing will know what this means. (For anyone entering another field, the next three steps offer a cheat sheet.)
5. Do only one client's work at a time.
Don't offer the same ideas to everyone, hoping someone will bite. If two higher-ups like your idea, you've just put two colleagues at odds.
6. Think about presentation.
Everything from meeting minutes to a calendar can be formatted beautifully. Alphabetizing lists, numbering pages—never a bad idea.
7. All interactions are auditions to be hired for more work
, so show your colleagues how much you want their business by doing what they asked you to do, when they asked for it.
8. Office life in the 21st century is life in a cubicle.
Think about the volume of your voice, the ringtone choice on your cell phone, the aroma of your food, and the amount of stuff that's spilling out of your work area.
Next: Learn how to present problems in the right way