Faye Arcand

How To Work: 5 Key Points For All Young People

We’re half way through 2020 and the world is still upside down. If you graduated college this year then things may still be on hold for you career wise. And, unfortunately things like student apprentice positions, internships, and even on-the-job training could be jeopardized because of the current pandemic situation.

What you need to remember though is that things will eventually change for the better. The pandemic punched us all straight in the gut and took the wind out of our sails, but it’s can be seen as an opportunity to learn about how to act on the job as you think about how you present and market yourself.

A friend forwarded an article entitled How to Find a Job Right Now/How to Work–Making Hard Lemonade out of Lemons penned by Speaker/Writer/Marketer Ann Handley https://annhandley.com My friend thought I might enjoy it and boy was she right.

Handley did an article about young workers looking for and finding work during the pandemic. It’s a how-to. You can see the entire article here. It’s really worth reading as it has some great points regarding our current pandemic situation. https://archive.aweber.com/totalannarchy/DHkp3/h/TA_63_How_to_Find_a_Job.htm

The part that really resonated with me though is not the job search but her Five Tips on HOW to Work. I copied her five points (all in red) and added my own thoughts. I want to look at each one and how it can set you up, not only now, but for a lifetime of success.


1. Always put the stamp on the envelope. Take ownership of the whole job, start to finish. Don’t leave parts undone for someone else to do for you.

This is such an important way to work–all in. When you have a job–I don’t care whether it’s slinging burgers, cleaning toilets, or selling houses, you need OWN it. The work you do is a reflection on who you are–the pride, the commitment, the personality. These traits are inherent within you and shine through in your work.

When you think of a job from start to finish it means always arriving early for your shift (if you’re ‘on time’– you’re late), dress the part, personal grooming is imperative–tie that hair back, get rid of the wad of gum, and present yourself as a professional–yes even if it’s a dog- poop picker upper!

Know what you need to do and complete it all to the best of your ability. That means from start to finish whether your shift is up or not. Finish the job. Don’t expect others to clean up after you–your mom isn’t there and it’s your responsibility.

I have faith that you can do this. Remember OWNERSHIP….the job is yours–treat it like a new car that you want to constantly polish….Okay Okay–maybe that’s a bit much but do take it seriously and do it to the best of your ability. No slacking.

2. Don’t put a monkey on someone else’s back. Every organization has problems. Be a part of the solution: Offer ideas and solutions, don’t just point out issues and obstacles.

This is part of making a positive work environment. If you see where something can be done more efficiently talk to your boss and make a suggestion. Don’t go around griping about it–that makes you look like a whiney baby.

This type of thinking also needs to make it’s way into the relationships you build with other workers. This means you don’t gossip–omg SO unattractive, you don’t moan and complain about your boss, and you don’t blame others for things that you’ve done or started.

There’s a lot of maturity that goes into working. It’s now time to grow up and accept the responsibility.

3. Always pick up at the airport. VIP coming to town? Volunteer to pick up him/her at the airport; you’ll make a valuable connection. This works metaphorically, too: Go out of our way to connect with a person—not just forge a business connection. Offer value first. Get value later.

This is fantastic advice. If you stand out for the right reasons, you’ll go far.

No, I’m not talking about being a total suck up to the boss but if the company you work for requires special tasks then offer to do them. This personal touch can lead to your name being brought up when there are promotions or special placements.

Let’s face it, people like to be around people who make themselves useful. This is about going over and above the job. It’s not an expectation but an opportunity to be recognized apart from your coworkers.

This recognition could happen that day or down the road. It’s about making connections and having them pay off for you in the future.

***ALERT*** Now, some common sense needs to be exercised here too. If your boss wants you to meet him in his hotel room for a business meeting–not ok. Anytime bells and whistles start to go off in your head listen to them. You’re after professional recognition not harassment.

4. Poke your nose out. Raise your hand. Join. Take a seat. Try. Launch. Fail. Try again. Advocate for yourself, because no one is going to invite you.

This one goes along with #3. If you’re hanging in a corner and trying not to be singled out–guess what? It’ll probably work.

When you go to ask your boss for a reference it’ll be reflective of that time spent hiding. Stand up. Be tall and alive. When you see someone, don’t wait for them to greet you–say hello.

Learn people’s names! to be able to address someone without having to first locate their name tag is truly empowering–not only for you but for them. Too often people feel invisible–adressing them by their given name is powerful

It’s all about learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Push yourself and know that there’s always tomorrow. I know you can do it.

5. Don’t get too good at answering the phone. Train for the job you want, not the one you have.

This sums up the entire five points of how to work. Set your sights high. Make your goals and strive to reach them.

Side note: As much as that’s a how-to list, it’s also a reminder not to be a jerk at work.” Ann Handley.

In this world we have enough jerks already and I certainly don’t want you to join the ranks. Take the How To Work points to heart and do the best you can. Stretch your wings a bit and if you’re uncomfortable then just do one or two at a time. It’s important though to learn to network and show your personal strengths.


Thank you to Norma Hill for the great article. It really inspired me. Check out Norma’s blog here: http://penandpapermama.com for tutoring, editing, and homeschooling. She really is a wealth of information.

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