Thinking About: Career Advice for Graduates

Tina Fey Career Advice Graduates Jobs

Many graduates will be starting first jobs soon. Any good advice to share?

I used to turn on the television late at night to watch MTV or VH1 in high school, and it seemed like there was always a Suze Orman special starting. I feel like some of the best advice I held onto came from there: “Be indispensable.” This means paying attention and knowing what your boss needs before they tell you—and making it happen without being asked. “They’ll come to rely on and be grateful for you.” It also means saying yes to all the tasks asked of you—at least to start.

More recently, some of my favorite advice comes from Tina Fey’s Bossypants and the rules of improvisation. One of the rules is to say “YES, AND” which means “don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute.” In other words, “whatever the problem, be a part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”

Of course if lists are their thing, you might hand over Seth Godin’s list of responsibilities missing from [their] job description:

  • Add energy to every conversation
  • Ask why
  • Find obsolete things on your task list and remove them
  • Treat customers better than they expect
  • Offer to help co-workers before they ask
  • Feed the plants
  • Leave things more organized than you found them
  • Invent a moment of silliness
  • Highlight good work from your peers
  • Find other great employees to join the team
  • Cut costs
  • Help invent a new product or service that people really want
  • Get smarter at your job through training or books
  • Encourage curiosity
  • Surface and highlight difficult decisions
  • Figure out what didn’t work
  • Organize the bookshelf
  • Start a club
  • Tell a joke at no one’s expense
  • Smile a lot

What would you add? Any advice to share? Congratulations and best of luck to all the graduates! 

P.S. More Thinking About posts.

(Found via Swiss Miss, who quoted Seth Godin. And if you haven’t listened to Tina Fey read Bossypants, you’re missing out.)

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