In preparing a recent manuscript for publication, I reviewed a series of interviews that I conducted with some of the top professionals in PR and social media. These professionals shared everything from what daily life is like working for a PR agency, to working with difficult clients.
However, it quickly became apparent that some of the most important lessons were missing from these discussions; most likely because these are tough lessons that we should all know, but nobody wants to talk about.
So here goes. I’m ripping the Band-Aid off and telling you like it is.
- Sit & Listen: Young professionals tend to want to share their opinions… often times far too frequently. According to Red Brick Research, over 80% of hiring managers claim that their Millennial employees display narcissistic tendencies. Resist the urge to always have an opinion. Resist the urge to talk over other people. Resist the urge to be the loudest voice in the room… always. Resist the urge to be right at the expense of others in the room. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proposing that you take on the attributes of “silent Sally” or “inarticulate Ike.” When you have something of value to share, perhaps an insight that could really turn a project around, or data that supports moving forward on a pending client, then speak up. Don’t talk just to hear yourself talk. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your career can stall out. If you simply take the time to sit and listen to what others are saying, you can benefit greatly from the valuable information being discussed.
- LOL… did you hear…: Yeah, stay away from the proverbial “water cooler.” Don’t get sucked into office gossip, and certainly don’t add to it either. If you ever find yourself part of office gossip you can walk away or simply change the subject by interjecting a topic related to work.
- You’ve Got Mail: Your email isn’t private. Employers routinely monitor emails sent and received by employees. In fact, your company computer, your office space, the text messages on your employer provided phone, and the company car is all property of your employer and can be searched at any time. Did you know that “the US Supreme Court has ruled that a city government’s search of text messages — even personal ones — on city-provided pagers was reasonable. Given that private employers usually have much more leeway than public employers, this decision suggests that private employers can search their employee’s text messages on company-provided phones.”
- Thank You: Never miss an opportunity to say thank you or to be kind. Too often, young employees will go out of their way to be overly nice to the top brass, yet forget to appreciate the people that help them get their job done on a daily basis. When I worked for a company that was purchased and is now Sprint, we had a call center in Las Vegas that managed our community phone program. Anytime that I had an event I worked with two individuals thousands of miles away to coordinate hundreds of phones for shipping, drop off, and collection. This was not an easy task. Their work was tedious, and if not done correctly, could have certainly resulted in severe ramifications. Each month, as a small gesture for their attention to detail, I would pull together a box of logo’d items like shirts, blankets, coffee mugs… whatever I had in my PR closet, write a little thank you note, and send it off. It doesn’t take much to say thank you and show others how much you appreciate what they do.
I know there are so many other pieces of advice that I didn’t touch upon. So, tell me, what would you add?