Lessons for a JMO Starting a Business Career – Part 3

I meant to get this posted earlier this week but I have been very busy with candidates conducting follow up interviews and accepting offers from the August 2009 Career Conference.

These are my last Lessons to JMOs starting their business career.  They are based on my own personal experience.  I feel these last two lessons are important, though you will find them unrelated.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being on time.  All eyes are on you when you first start your business career, and you will be creating impressions from day one.  Being on time doesn’t mean showing up right at the appointed time, it actually means being a few minutes early, prepared and ready to start.  Be on time – for the start of the work day, coming back from your lunch break, and for meetings and appointments.  I guarantee, your peers, bosses and team members will notice.  By being on time and prepared to start, you convey that you respect them and their time, you care about the meeting appointment and work, and you pay attention to the details.  My opinion is that people who are consistently on time are those who also pay attention to the small details that others overlook.  As Roger Cameron says, the big accomplishments get you promoted, but it is paying attention to the small details that create your reputation.  Believe me, people notice. 

In my 10 years at Cameron-Brooks, I have been late to work twice (with the exception of scheduled appointments) and if you ask those at Cameron-Brooks, they will tell you that when work starts at 8:30 a.m., I am in my seat plugging away on my initiatives for the day.  I do not point this out to brag, but rather to demonstrate that as a leader, my team notices my work ethic and they mirror what I do.  I cannot expect my team members and peers to be on time unless I do the same.  Remember, people notice what you do and when you arrive and depart your work.  Everyday you are creating your reputation. By being on time, you demonstrate your respect for others and that you care about performance and setting an example for others.

This past weekend, I was reminded that “the grass is not greener on the other side.”  I went to a wedding and met up with several former college friends.  I heard about their exciting careers and job titles.  I explained that I was a Recruiter with Cameron-Brooks, a junior military officer headhunter type company.  Proud of my company and the talented people with whom I work, I explained our company and services.  They also shared with me what they did.  Wow, did it sound great.  They seemed to have better hours, bigger titles, traveled to neater places and worked on some amazing projects.  It really made me wonder, “Are those opportunities better?”  I shared these thoughts with my wife, Susan, and being very perceptive, she pointed out to me, that although they did sound great they had not told me of all the challenges and downsides with their careers and lives.  It is so easy to find what’s wrong with your career or life and not take inventory of what’s right.  It is also easy to look at other careers and see all of the positives and none of the negatives.  In reality, all careers have tradeoffs, positives and negatives.  In the first year of your business career, you will face challenges and it will be easy to see the negatives without the positives.  My advice is to step back, take a sheet of paper, and write down the reasons why you chose this career in the first place, as well as all of the reasons you like it.  I do this on my Cameron-Brooks anniversary start date every year.  It’s eye opening.  I also go back to it when I am tempted tothink, the grass is greener over there.

Thank you for taking the time to read my lessons to JMOs starting a business career.  I hope you find them helpful and if any Cameron-Brooks Alumni are reading these, I would love to hear their responses.

 Joel Junker