Advice for budding young adults?

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” Isaac Asimov

what you need to knowThat’s what I’m doing here today. I’m working on a presentation for late teens – think high school. The general theme is around “Getting ready to work in the business world”. Here are some of my thoughts thus far. Your additions are most appreciated. I’m still in the embryonic stages.

Here’s a first pass top 10:

  1. Take care of the Basics – got this from my friend KD, a professor at UTSA. She sees young adults get into difficulties everyday, because they don’t take care of the easy Basics, like turn in your papers … on time. Save your difficulties in life for the hard things.
  2. Work on Your Communication skills  – got this from a Fortune 1 senior manager looking back over a 30+ year career. The new hires today are having trouble expressing themselves in business communications – electronic and in person. In the electronic arena make sure they are crisp, complete, leave no room for misinterpretation, avoid assumptions and can be shared without embarrassment. In the person-to-person conversations, make sure to clarify and confirm your understanding, ask questions, use notes if needed, and prepare in advance if needed. In both cases, get feedback and coaching to make progress.
  3. Look people in the eye when they talk to you – this is a common failing of many younger people. I witnessed it recently at a university orientation. It was painful to watch. I have my theories about why you do this, but the bottom-line is you must stop. It makes you appear lacking in confidence at best and uninterested at worst.
  4. 1st impressions matter – “substance is more important than form” – “we should never judge a book by it’s cover” – “beauty is only skin deep”. All these things are true, but 1st impressions matter. Your 1st impression may open the next door, or be the ticket to taking the next step. Don’t blow it. Make it your best.
  5. Carry a pen – always show up ready to write down something on your to-do list, a contact name, a phone number, something you learn. When you show up at a meeting or any other work situation without a pen it’s a sign that, at best you’re disorganized and worst case you’re not planning to do any work.
  6. Your most important boss in You – manage yourself, as if you are your own boss. Give yourself interesting work. Measure your performance. Stretch yourself with growth opportunities. Give improvement feedback – and a pat on the back. Plan your career and growth strategies.
  7. Your most important employee is You – don’t let yourself down. Do high quality work. Do timely work. Take initiative. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Always show up and stay engaged – even if you’re not busy.
  8. Treat all your colleagues as potential futures bosses – that annoying person could one day be promoted over you. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Make your interactions professional. That is entirely possible without liking someone. It will pay off.
  9. Build a Network – Go out of your way to meet co-workers, associates, customers and others in your work environment. Ask questions about what they do, how they fit in to the picture, what they know. Make a note. It will pay off.
  10. Be a Life Long Learner – when you leave school your learning has only just started. You’ve mastered the 3 Rs, now the real work starts. Your new teacher or coach may be you. Your next homework assignment may come from you. Cultivate an attitude of learning that doesn’t stop til you die. Recruit people for your school of life, who can help you learn and expand your universe.

I actually have a list of about 25 items, but have to narrow this down, so have picked these for the first pass. It would be a privilege to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to use the Comments below to contribute your thoughts.


About lynnmorstead

Writing about the small things that shape our lives
This entry was posted in education, Life Coaching, Personal Effectiveness, Teens. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Advice for budding young adults?

  1. Joy says:

    How about – keep your commitments. Make sure you understand what you are promising; make sure it is something that you can do timely and well. Be on time. Keep the person waiting for your “output” apprised of the status, especially if there are problems. Don’t assume that if they have not asked you about it, that they have forgotten. This includes commitments with not only teachers and bosses, but friends, family and even yourself. Personal Integrity is built on commitment and follow-through..

  2. kiramac says:

    Love this! I’m letting my teenager read this ASAP! My additions are: Listen to your heart when making all decisions. Don’t get tattoos. Don’t post anything possibly personally embarrassing on Facebook / Twitter, etc. And, find a creative outlet or hobby to add to your week.

    • lynnmorstead says:

      Thanks for taking the time to round this out Kira. As usual I’m looking at things from a business perspective and you are pulling me into a more holistic view of even the business world.

      • kiramac says:

        It’s just so wonderful that you are going to do this! Looking back, I found that making good decisions about which company to go with was just as vital for me as the company and that managing stress was the difference between happiness and misery. 🙂

  3. Rhonda says:

    Excellent! My advice to college recruits regarding communication skills is that ACTIVE LISTENING is as important as what is said. If you don’t listen to the question asked, you will always give the wrong response. Never be thinking of what you plan to say while someone is speaking to you. Actually listen, then respond appropriately. Which ties in with looking at the person with whom you are conversing — in the eye. And don’t mumble — speak up, speak clearly, speak confidently.

  4. Mike says:

    Hey Lynn!
    I have two comments that come to mind after reading through your initial list (which is great!):
    1. To fill out #5, also bring a notebook to write in with your pen 🙂
    2. First do what you have to do (e.g. homework, chores, your job), so you can then do what you want to do (e.g. play-time, hobbies, hit the pub).

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