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December 12, 2012

Ten truths for college grads

Ada — My kids are grown and out of the house, but even if they weren’t, they’re tired of hearing me say it.

 
So, it was with delight that I took the opportunity to share with a group of college students what seem to me to be fundamental career truths as certain as Newton’s laws of motion. Thanks go to East Central University’s Dean Wendell Godwin for asking me to visit with his business students last week.
 
A wealthy friend tells me even though it took him years to learn the business he is in and how to be successful at it; he could teach it to someone else in two weeks.
 
The following items are presented in that vein. Some were obvious to me even as a young person new to business. Others took longer to gain a full appreciation of their importance. What follows doesn’t take a lifetime to learn. Young people who sacrifice even a brief moment to become acquainted with them will find them useful to employ in their chosen fields. 
 
Truth number one: Everyone is in sales. No matter what your occupation you are always trying to sell your boss, your coworkers or your customers on the value of your input, ideas or worth.
 
Truth number two: Always give a firm handshake. A weak one says you are not up to the task, no matter what the task is. Practice shaking hands until you get it right. You want firm, not bone crushing.
 
Truth number three: Always act happy to see your boss. He (or she) has feelings too and already suspects you don’t appreciate him. He’s human and wants people to like him. In his mind, your reluctance translates into lack of respect.
 
Hearing this, my kids said, “What if you don’t have a boss?” Everyone has a boss. My brother opened his own business thinking he would be boss free. Soon he realized he had traded one boss for hundreds because every customer who walked through the door was his boss.

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