A friend was scheduled to speak to a group of graduate students and wanted to share pearls of wisdoms with them. When she asked for my thoughts, I wholeheartedly shared my life lessons with her and asked her to pay them forward to the graduate students.
Following are some lessons I have learned – and am still learning:
- Balance your professional and personal lives
- Be honest and straightforward, yet tactful
- Become active in professional associations and make your mark early
- Do not call everyone your friend
- Document everything – good and bad
- Don’t forget from whence you cometh
- Get rid of employees who consistently exhibit poor work performance and help them find a better fit (it’s your professional duty to them and yourself to do so)
- Give more than 100 percent, and you will be rewarded
- Identify a few people you can trust and, right away, mutually agree to the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” concept
- Live by your core values – in words and deeds
- Maintain boundaries and be careful about mixing business with pleasure
- Master the English language
- Master excellent written and verbal communication skills for use at work (save your informal communication for family and friends)
- Put people first
- This one is especially for African-Americans: Remember that not all White folks dislike you and that not all Black folks like you (advice shared with me when I was 17 by a wise African-American woman who is now deceased).
- Seek mentors of different genders and races
- Stay abreast of the trends and changes in your profession and become an expert in your profession
If you were asked to speak to a group of young people, what life lessons would you share?