- Ada, Oklahoma

December 12, 2012

Ten truths for college grads

Lone Beasley Publisher
The Ada News

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.
Truth number four: Get to work early completely dressed and, if female, your makeup already applied.
Truth number five: You are never completely dressed until you’re wearing your smile. Smile!
Truth number six: Never be the one who tells how something can’t be done. It may be too expensive or too much trouble to do, but it can almost always be done.
Truth number seven: Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm. Get excited!
Truth number eight: Never talk bad about your company or your boss. Unlike coworkers in a company I once worked, one employee never complained about the boss. I asked him why and he said, “I figure if the man’s signing my paycheck, I don’t have too much to complain about.” Made sense to me!
Truth number nine: Stay positive.
Truth number ten: Leaders are readers. Read!
The above are hardly all one needs to know about being successful in business, but they are ten good places to get started.