|Me as an exchange student graduating from New Canaan High CT, 1979|
|Graduation Day with friends (me at right) 1979|
*Rotten peas and bagging spuds:
Find a summer job that's mind-blowingly boring or bloody hard yakka. Some of my Uni friends worked 12-hour days at the Wattie's factory plucking out the bad peas on the conveyor belt. They are now running New Zealand. For three summers I worked in the back of my parent's fruit shop bagging potatoes. I now run a household (no... it doesn't have the same ring does it?)
You learn humility. The other day I overheard a 20-year-old turning down a job at Neiman Marcus because it was in the kids' shoes department, "There's no way I could help them" she said. Whaaa?
* Learn some stuff, then bugger off:
Take two years off to travel after high school or university. I don't mean one of those ten-day trips to three countries paid for by your parents. Or one of those incredibly expensive programmes where you are supposed to teach school or build a village in a third world country but you end helping kids set up their Facebook page. Grab a Lonely Planet guide to Buggeroffland, strap on a backpack and head off. Most countries need strawberry pickers and waiters so you can make some money on the way.
At age 27 I spent five months traveling by myself through Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Turkey...not much scares me now. Except PTA meetings.
* Sort out the good sorts:
They laugh at their own problems and will help you laugh at yours. Don't confuse positive people with competitive people who rabbit on for hours about how great their lives-kids-eyebrows-abs are.
*You can't climb ivy:
Your friend went to a better school, that doesn't mean they'll have a better career. Sure, a top school will get them an enviable first job, but it won't help them do well or propel them to their next job. You get to decide your own success.
*Ask for what you want:
Tricky if you're bought up in a culture (NZ) where modesty is everything and any sign of "pushiness" is frowned upon. I was chatting the other day to a ex-colleague, too embarrassed to come to the point and finally she said: "You don't want to get back into journalism, do you?" Yees, I replied. She commissioned me to write something soon after.
Research in Six Degrees of Social Influence shows that people like you more if they help you. Rejection stings but "wistful despair of ....letting the opportunity fade" will haunt us forever.
*Finally, when you get a real job:
Show up to work. Every day. Stay there. All day. That's a good start.
|Me being admitted to the Bar, NZ, 1986, pink lippy and all|
What would you add to this list?