Employment advice

I interviewed a young man for an entry-level producer position today. He graduated from college in December, was highly recommended by his department chair, has done a bunch of projects since graduation and now he’s very likely to get a good offer for his first “real” job in television… being mentored by me.

Now comes the fun, learning how to succeed at work. Here are ten lessons I learned the hard way.  These are universal, they work at any job. Take notes, there will be a test.   [send this to someone you care about, there are handy links at the bottom of this post]

  • 10.  Being awake means being at work.   Few jobs in this industry, and definitely not your first job, last from 9 to 5.  Don’t just hang out, work hard and be noticed. (but also maintain a personal life)
  • 9.   Learn how to take care of your boss, and what he/she needs to do to take care of his/her boss, and then anticipate their needs.
  • 8.   Write things down. I prefer Moleskine notebooks but find one you like and carry it everywhere, especially when you’re with the boss or in a meeting. (you’ll want a dependable pen as well)
  • 7.   Banish the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. Make friends with good people who will help you learn. These potential friends include people you’ve never met, but that you respect.
  • 6.   Think before you speak. Do not ever utter a word in anger. Don’t spread rumors or trash people. It will someday come back to haunt you.
  • 5.   Face-to-face communication is best, phone is next, email follows that and somewhere down the list, way down the list, is a phone message or a post-it note. Don’t become lazy with communicating.
  • 4.   Keep refreshed — personally, physically and spiritually. Do not get permanently worn out.
  • 3.   Become indispensable.
  • 2.   Tell the truth. Always.  Honesty opens the door for grace.
  • 1.   You ultimately work for God. Get busy.

Posted on May 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

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Responses (9)

  1. Phil Cooke
    May 22, 2008 at 11:27 pm ·

    Become indispensable. Love that one. Stop complaining about your salary and start looking for bigger problems to solve. They can’t fire you if they can’t live without you. Plus, if they can’t live without you, they have to pay you more…. 🙂

  2. Melynda Hilliard
    May 23, 2008 at 1:09 am ·

    I believe you have shared these 10 things with me before, and I must say they are quite true. I’m glad the new producer will be mentored by you – I don’t think he could have a better mentor (only a little sister can say that, right?).

  3. Natascha Myers
    May 23, 2008 at 10:42 am ·

    These are all absolutely true! I learned these a LONG time ago. My parents where the ones who taught me to banish can’t from my vocabulary (the lesson was “can’t means won’t” ). And the rest quickly followed afterward. Sound advice and a good thing to keep posted in the first page of the notebook you always carry around …

  4. Dan Taber
    May 23, 2008 at 1:27 pm ·

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I agree – all 10 of these lessons are important. If #1 (serve God in everything) and #2 (be Truthful – God’s commandment) are achieved, the remaining 8 will naturally follow. In Christ my friend.

  5. Jim Canfield
    May 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm ·

    What a great list.

    #10 – Will someone tell my twenty somethings please?

    #7 – From a father I know … “What are you, a ‘Can’t field’?” Childhood memories seem to stick longer.

    #6 – Do not utter a word in anger. Can I please learn that just one more time? Oy.

    #5 – Alerting people/clients to issues (especially ones you have created): your message will be recieved most harshly via email, then over the phone. Difficult messages are best received in person. The tough decision is do I call them right now or do I get on a plane.

  6. Nate Chesley
    May 23, 2008 at 5:56 pm ·

    Good stuff. I’m in the employment hunt once again, this time in Denver for an architecture internship, so these are particularly timely and relevant points.

    p.s. I’m loving the relentlessness of your postings. Refreshing as a reader to have something fresh all the time. . . .

  7. JoeSindorf
    May 24, 2008 at 11:40 pm ·

    Thanks for the comments everyone…

    Phil – great comment from someone who knows how to become indispensable!

    Melynda – I am pretty sure a few of these are new! I’ve learned more since you were an intern and I was your first TV boss!

    Natasha – great idea… put the list in your notebook. I love that.

    Dan – thanks for the affirmation. You are right. Get priorities correct and everything else seems to work better.

    Jim – thanks for the insight and confirmation from the cutting edge, high-tech, for-profit world.

    Nate – best of luck in Denver. I have a lead in the attorney world in Denver, but not in architecture. Praying for you.

  8. Mona Hennein
    May 30, 2008 at 1:10 am ·

    Best blog ever!

  9. JoeSindorf
    May 30, 2008 at 12:44 pm ·

    Thanks, Mona!

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