I'll be taking part in a panel discussion on what it takes to be successful in the workplace and common mistakes to avoid.  The audience will be college students. While I have several ideas of what to discuss (especially on what mistakes to avoid...), I was wondering if anyone had any ideas that could really help those entering into the workplace for the first time.

Thank you.


jrumple's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

First, I would highly recommend Career Tools. Manager Tools has some great information they could learn from, but I'm not sure that audience would be receptive to the focus on managers. Career Tools provides the same quality of information which managers and individual contributors can relate to.

Next, I got as a Christmas gift a book called Advice to Rocket Scientists by Jim Longuski (ISBN 1-56347-655-X). The examples are taken from the authors experience as a rocket scientist, but the underlying lessons apply to all new graduates and interns. I keep a couple extra at my desk to give away to new employees. Check out the book and see if you can tailor some of the lessons (Keep an eye on the Big Picture, Make your boss look good, etc.) to your discussion.

San Diego

hkbovik's picture

 Thanks. To get some ideas flowing, I jotted down ome very initial (and very incomplete) thoughts. I think it would be fairly boring to hear them all in a talk though (*yawn*):

  • DO learn all that you can about the products your team builds and the applications you use. Take notes, ask questions.
  • DO Make your manager look good
  • DO learn to communicate effectively with all types of people! Study one of the models of human behavior (e.g. DISC,  Competing Values). DON'T expect someone else's behavior to change very much and definitely DON'T try to change your boss
  • DO dress for success. Just because your company lets you come in t-shirt and cut-offs, doesn't mean you should. And there are khakis and there are khakis. DON'T dress too much better than your boss...
  • DO ask for feedback. Hopefully your manager is enlightened enough to provide ongoing one-on-ones, feedback (positive and adjusting) and coaching. DON'T be annoying and bother you boss for non-important issues. If you have regularly scheduled one-on-ones, save up non-critical issues for that meeting.
  • DO have zeal for your job. DON'T assume you know better than others. Your great idea may be what the boss rejected in favor of his/her idea last month. When you've done your research, know your stuff and are ready to share your ideas, remember: learn how to communicate and make your manager look good. You may think you know everything, and maybe you really do, but don't let the message get lost its delivery. Remember, make your manager look good.