I was inspired Molly Guy’s Vogue article about things she wished she knew when she was younger. Add that to the fact that Babbit Bodner’s two newest worker bees are 18 and 21 and making me feel super old…So, below is a list of things I wish I could go back and tell my 22-year-old, just-starting-my-career self. What would you add?
Keep in touch with everyone. The intern, the clients, the annoying colleague. Keep their contact info up to date and reach out on a regular basis. Keep notes about how you know them, because trust me, you will forget.
Stop worrying about titles. No one understands what they mean anyway.
Stop comparing yourself to your colleagues. Half of them will quit in the next year and most move onto other industries, or not even keep working. Focus on what you can bring to the organization and what the organization can give to you.
You will be emotionally tied to your work. This is a good thing, it means you care, it means you’re passionate, it means you get it. You will sob over business lost, tough clients, and missed promotions.
Never let them see you cry.
You will work with mean people. That girl who is supposed to build you up will try and tear you down. She will tell you you’re not strategic, not a good fit, not worthy of your role. Don’t let it get to you – she’s unhappy in her personal life and taking it out on you.
You will work with some great people. They will mentor you, motivate you and sponsor you. Hang onto these people, ride their coattails, understand what makes them successful. Let them know how much their kindness and teaching means to you.
Say yes to all the things no one else wants to do. It will push you, make you more creative, and make you stand out from the crowd.
Live in New York once in your life. It’s true, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. It’s the best place to start a career.
Read. Read. Read. It will relax you, educate you, inspire you. Read things that are out of your comfort zone - -pick up the Economist, peruse an art magazine, read your industry trades.
People do judge books by their covers. Tie packages in beautiful bows, ensure your formatting is correct on documents, make presentations glisten.
Don’t be afraid to “use your connections.” They will help get you the job or the client, but its up to you to keep them.
Understand the business of the business. What keeps your clients up at night? How does your agency make money? If you’re just running through your “task list,” you’re in trouble.
Working long hours doesn’t equate to working smart hours.
And finally, trust your intuition, it’s smarter than you think. Steve Jobs says it best:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.