Filed under: adam steen, advice, attitude, business cards, maturity, preparation, responsibility
One thing that I would like to emphasize strongly is the concept of always being prepared. You never know who you can run into during the day, and it’s a good idea to be ready from a professional standpoint to deal with it.
This doesn’t mean you have to fold up a resume and keep it in your pocket at all times. However, it would be a good idea to carry around a set of business cards. In your wallet, in your car, in your bag. That way, if one place runs out unexpectedly (though you should always keep track), you will have a backup.
Why is this important you ask?
Today I had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Steen to chat about a few things at a coffee shop. In the middle of our conversation, he noticed that a friend of his had come into the coffee shop. He introduced me to Cheryl. Cheryl is a recruiter/headhunter, a person who can help you find a job after graduation. I had remembered to refill my business cards in my wallet the night before, so I handed her one. She didn’t have one, but because she had mine, she has a way to contact me. If I didn’t have my cards, this would be a lost opportunity.
Not only are business cards a great way to pass on contact information, as a college student it represents a level of maturity that stands out from others. It proves that you are responsible, driven, but most importantly mature and serious. It shows that you have a strong attitude about your future.
Do you have your business cards ready? How have they helped you before?
Your reputation is an asset. Your reputation is what makes you stand out from others. Call it “brand recognition”. You are a brand, and your reputation is the buzz which goes around about you. Whether negative or positive, it’s always there.
That’s why it’s important to keep this reputation under control. And by that, I mean your behavior. If you promise something and don’t follow through on it, that will reflect in what other people think about you (your reputation). If you take something to the next level, that will also reflect in what other people think about you (your reputation?).
Your reputation is like the press release on an investment. If the press release is positive, you can be sure that people will approach you in a positive manner, whether it be companies, prospective schools or anything else. If it’s negative, people will avoid it like a bad investment. Nobody wants to invest their time, money and patience into something that has no return.
When somebody invests their time and money into you, it is your duty to maximize their ROI. Trust me, there are only positives that come out of a strong ROI. To do this, you need to create a strong set of habits. If you invest in yourself, others will follow.
So when you’re at your job, internship or even at school, remember that everytime you do a piece of work, you are returning on somebody’s investment. Make it a strong one!
Many people don’t understand the power of their words. Words can be used to put down other people, or to make them feel great. Words are sometimes the only contract you hold with other people, ensuring them that you will follow through on what you say. This brings me to the concepts of Accountability and Reputation.
In many cases, people who do not keep their word don’t feel as if they have done anything wrong. Sometimes they will apologize, and sometimes they will blow it off and pretend nothing is wrong. This is the worst response. You have to remember that every single time you tell somebody you will do something with them or for them, whether it be meet for coffee, have dinner or go out for a drink, you have to be accountable for what happens. If you know in advance that you will not be able to make it (or be late), let the other person know that you care and respect them enough to think about them.
Accountability feeds right into the idea of reputation. Reputation, according to the dictionary, is “the estimation in which a person or thing is held, esp. by the community or the public generally.” As much as you may think that free will and doing whatever you want is important, when preparing for the business world you have to understand that reputation will make you or break you. If you miss a meeting or two, or keep coming in to work late, you will be held accountable for those mistakes and your reputation will be compromised. Once this is compromised, it will be harder to get what you want at the firm you’re working at, and harder to climb up that ladder.
If people can’t rely on you, then why would they support you?
You have to be accountable for every single action that you take, whether it is good or bad. By taking this responsibility, you can be sure that your reputation will not be compromised in the future.
Always be on time, always let people know you will be late, and always follow through on what you tell other people. Anything else is disrespectful.
You don’t want to be “that late, lazy and unreliable employee” in the eyes of the company, right?
(that is, if you can keep your job long enough to develop that reputation)
Remember, people talk negatively about products that don’t make the mark. Why wouldn’t they do the same with a person who doesn’t pull his or her weight?
Filed under: advice, credit cards, debt, finance, materialism, responsibility
Materialism & Credit Cards
After reading two different blog entries that shared a single theme, I took some time to think about the idea of materialism.
The United States is a very very materialistic culture. Ever since I arrived in this country I realized that this is a “go big or go home” mentality. Look at the size of the cars driving around. You could probably fit a family of 10 into an Expedition and still have room for the dog. And all you see is one person driving around in this monster of a car. Also, if you can’t afford it, there’s always car payments.
The biggest indicator of this American materialism: the negative savings rate. For the 2nd year in a row, the US Consumer savings rate has been negative. People have been spending more money than they earn. Which sounds like it shouldn’t be happening? I mean, can someone really eat 1.5 loaves of bread when they only have 1? Oh yes they can. You borrow the other half.
Credit cards are deadly. The lack of education in financial management has proven to be a downfall of consumer society. Credit card debt is ridiculously high, to the point that credit card debt elimination companies have been established. People are actually blaming and suing credit card companies for the ridiculous interest they’ve racked up on their own debt. People! Are you serious?
Moral of the story is: learn to keep track and manage your finances. Credit cards can be used and abused. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned;
1. Use credit cards responsibly to develop and mold your credit score/history which will help you acquire loans and mortgages in the future
2. NEVER spend more money than you can pay back within the next payment period. Interest rates rise exponentially, and pretty soon you will be over your head in payments.
3. Don’t spend more money than what you have in the checking/savings account.
4. Stick to one or two credit cards. It will limit the number of annual fees you pay and the number of payments you must keep track of.
5. In some cases, call the credit card company to set your limit at one level. This way, they will not increase it every few months in an attempt to entice you to spend more money.
Here are the articles: