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Lesson #1 of entering the work world December 5, 2008

Posted by A Texan In The Professional World in Uncategorized.
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Come early, stay late.   Perception is reality.

I recently had a conversation with my partner at work about my hours.

Let me start off by explaining that I work with a partner who I’m partially responsible to.  He is making an investment in me via time and a little money.  In return, my productivity benefits him in addition to me.

In college I developed this common lifestyle of sleeping in and staying up late.   I’d schedule my classes to start in the late morning.. and then I’d be up late doing my work, studying, and, of course, often partying.  In other words… same number of hours as all my peers… but allocated differently.  Some got up early so they could get to sleep sooner… but I did the opposite.

Entering the working world I had a similar plan in mind.  Well, for the first 6 months… this went on without a problem.  Then one day, my partner sits down at my desk and informs me he doesn’t like my arriving late.  Now, keep in mind I’m staying later then almost everyone else and still putting in the hours.  But, he doesn’t think it reflects well on me nor does it match his own work style.

In retrospect, he’s completely correct.  One can’t be the new guy on the team and come in keeping one’s own hours and expect everyone to understand how hard you’re working.  For that matter, the junior guy must make sure his schedule conforms to that of the senior partner.

All of this brought to mind the lessons I’d learned in high school athletics.  Be the first out and the last off.  Dedication like that gets noticed by your coaches and peers, and can lead to one’s own self improvement.  Not to mention, more time in the field (office) can also maximize one’s chances for opportunity to come about.  It’s hard to be available or thought of if you’re not around.   Just as importantly… it’s necessary for one’s peers to think well of you.  Good reputations are difficult to earn and easy to lose. How was everyone in my office supposed to know the extent of my hours?  All they saw was a young fellow walking in later than everyone else.

I think you get my point.  Discipline in the schedule will help with all of this.  Eat breakfast at the office if it helps… just make sure people recognize you as the guy who’s really putting in the time.

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