Things I Knew

“What do you wish you had known early in your career?” Anita asked. “A lot,” I immediately answered. How to find a mentor. When to trust my instincts. The workplace isn’t fair. I should have known that. I did know a few things that helped me navigate the political corridors of the office and the jungle gym full of career ladders and job slides that lead to the oblivion known as “special projects.” Here’s my ABC list of things I knew and think others might benefit from knowing too:

•Accountability counts
Boys should act like men at the office, and girls like women.
Calendarize is a made-up word.
Drama should stay on the stage.
Extra hours at work don’t always yield extra results.
Forcing square pegs into round holes leaves bruises.
Grammar matters. Really.
How are you? Ask it and mean it.
Incentivize is another made-up word.
Jargon must be learned and kept to a minimum.
•Knowledge is power. How to leverage it is dynamite.
•Loving your job is not required to do a good job.
Melt-downs should be done behind closed doors.
Negative attitudes breed negative cultures.
Opportunities, while often just problems in disguise, must still be addressed.
•Point-of-view. Try seeing things from the other person’s side.
Quoting respected people in speeches beats telling a so-so joke.
Righteous indignation doesn’t work at work.
Second-guessing often leads to second place.
TMI is too much information.
Underwear should never be seen at the workplace.
Volunteering in and outside the job helps you as much as others.
Work, unlike in love and war, all is not fair.
XX-chromosome people communicate differently than XY-chromosome people
Youth is wasted on the young. George Bernard Shaw came up with this one, not me.
any is fine at home but not at work, unless you work for The Second City.

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