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Career Advice for Today’s College Grads From a Gen Xer

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Hope’s words reminded me of how I made friends with copy editors and photographers, because they were really great people. I later discovered the added perk of talking through edits to my stories and almost always having photographers assigned to my stories even on little notice. I once had a boss say I cared too much what people thought of me. He was mistaking kindness. And I would care if people found me unkind. It’s always good to be kind.

It starts before you even take the job. The best jobs I’ve had have been at places that allowed me to meet everyone I’d be working with before I joined. Back in the day, that two-day newspaper interview process was grueling but worth it. I could (and did) ask things like “If this job is so great why doesn’t anyone else want it?” If you’d like that transparency, ask for it. Ask to meet potential teammembers.

One time I did just that, and the would-be boss told me he brought his young children to the office on the weekends while he worked. It wasn’t a requirement, he said. But the way he said it, I wasn’t so sure. Why would he do this? Why would he tell me this? Needless to say I was relieved to not advance to the next interview stage — and if I had advanced, I would have removed myself from consideration. So there is another piece of advice here too: Trust your gut.

Most of my jobs and new clients have come because of personal relationships. Take time for coffee dates, networking groups and keeping up with your network via LinkedIn. Throughout your career, be quick to ask those in your circle what they need — a referral, a reference, an introduction — rather than quick to always ask for what you need.

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