7 Rules for the Future Professional Person by Mama A.

Hello Dear and Wonderful Students!

Can you believe it's already April???  In just a mere month from today many of you will be graduating into the big wide world--ready to be a real deal grownup and ready to take on employment and bills and healthcare and rent/mortgage and car payments and food and fun and all of those wonderful things grownups have the opportunity to do!

Your parents are probably doing cartwheels as well speak.  They know (financial) freedom issss hheeerrrrrreeeeee!!!!!

Many of you have purchased interview clothes, polished your resumes, and have made several contacts in regards to future employment opportunities.  A few of you already know where you are headed, and others are waiting for that phone call.

Some of you have asked your professors to serve as a reference.

And this is where it gets sticky.  Sometimes, this is not a great idea.

Want to know why, sweet and lovelies?  Because some of you make it hard for us to refer you to an employer.  Honestly, we all want to help you find a job.  We all want you to make it out there in the big world.

But sometimes we have to find creative ways to talk about your individual quirks. 

We don't want to lie, but you don't want us to tell the plain truth. 

So, here are a few tips current (and future) graduates on how to make it easier for Mama A and her pals to happily refer you to Mr. Boss Man.  Or maybe Mrs. Boss Lady.

1.  Stop being a jerk.  This is rule numero uno.  If you are constantly mouthing off and speaking poorly about your workload, your courses, your professors, your peers, your school experience, or your life in general you make it very hard for us to talk about your attitude and team player-ness ability.  All we see is your willingness to complain.  And trust me, a boss will quickly fire a complainer.  Complainers make their bosses MISERABLE and they don't want them in their environment infecting other workers.

2.  Work hard(er).  If you have to be spoon fed on every assignment or responsibility--or if you're just plain old lazy, it makes it very hard for us to discuss your work ethic in a positive light.  And don't give us this excuse about your assignments or responsibility being a waste of time.  Trust me, there will always be things you consider to be a waste of time in any situation.  That's just life.

Employers want someone who is self-motivated and can do things on their own.  No one wants to create a to-do list for their employees everyday.  They hired you to do the job and to create less stress for them.

3.  It's time to stop staying up all hours of the night going to Sonic or Wal-mart or playing X-box or whatever it is you do until the wee hours of the morning.  When you do this you walk around like zombies the next day.  Nothing is more frustrating than a student who fails to do anything on time because they are sleep deprived.  You need to take care of yourself.  Just because you CAN stay up all hours of the night doesn't mean you SHOULD.  This will never fly in the real world.

4.  TAKE A BATH AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND STOP WEARING SWEATS OUT IN PUBLIC.  Oh my goodness.  I'm tired of you smelling like you just rolled out of bed.  It's a stale aroma and coupled with your morning/afternoon breath it's a killer combination.  Please take care of yourself.  You NEVER know when you are going to run into a future employer and you would be so embarrassed to have crazy hair and rumply clothes.

Because crazy hair and rumpled clothes look sooooo professional.

Good hygiene, everyday.

5.  It is not all about you.  When you get hired you are going to be at the bottom of the food chain.  You might be Mr. or Miss Sassy Britches on campus right now, but when you go out to the real world, there are always going to be people who are more experienced, better paid, and better at your job.  Go ahead and recognize that you need to find your place in line and work your way up like everyone else.  Stop thinking you are entitled to something better because you are your mommy's/daddy's precious angel.

Everyone in this world is someone's precious angel.

6.  Take a good long look in the mirror.  You need to be able to clearly define your strengths and weaknesses.  We all have both--those qualities make us unique individuals.  Be completely honest with yourself--what are three things you love and three things you need to improve on in your life?

Ask a trusted friend (but not a friend that's going to tell you what you want to hear)--or better yet, ask your enemy  someone you aren't super close with about your strengths and weaknesses.

Understand that this will be very hard to hear.  And if you aren't ready to hear it from a peer, you aren't going to be ready to have a performance evaluation from your boss.  No one wants to hear criticism.  Trust me, we all hate to hear about the negative things we are doing.  But, like it or not, evaluations are part of the employment process.

7.  If you want to be treated like an adult, then you need to start acting like an adult.  This doesn't mean giving up all of your fun activities and wearing a shirt and tie all day long.  But it does mean recognizing that there are specific times for both (and sometimes the two can cross).  If you work at a good place, work will be challenging and engaging and even fun once in a while.  

Constantly playing Angry Birds, sleeping, texting, or chatting on FB when you should be listening in class is not the way to start.  Think to yourself, if my professor or boss saw me doing this would I be embarrassed?  If the answer is yes, then maybe you need to rethink your behavior.

I am so excited for my graduating students!  I know you are going to go on and do bigger and better things for this world.  Buckle down these last few weeks and think about how much has changed in the last 4 (5, 6, or more) years of college.  Be very purposeful in these last few weeks and be selfish with your time.  These last few weeks can make or break you.  You can do it!

See you at graduation with your caps and dresses gowns on!

Love and smooches,

Mama A.

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