While at my daughter’s college graduation this weekend from Auburn University, in the row in front of me, a man dropped a $20 on the ground as he was pulling his phone from his pocket. As a Good Samaritan, I pointed it out to him, he picked it up, thanked me, and put it back in his pocket. However, in that moment and in that setting, I was reminded of a story I have heard many times before as it pertains to value. The story goes something like this.
“Who Wants This $20?”
A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20 bill to one of you – but first, let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up, barely recognizable.
He then asked, “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.
“Well, “he replied, “what if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went in the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
10 Pieces of advice for Graduates – or Anyone
I thought this was a very fitting example for those graduating because the transition to the real world can be tough! Early on, young professionals can still be unsure of themselves, unclear of the vision for their lives, or anxious about becoming a working professional.
Sometimes, you feel dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions you make and the circumstances that come your way. Other times, it can feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value – just like the $20.
However, while you are waiting to settle into your new job, new life, new NORMAL – I came up with a list of 10 things that will help college graduates – or anyone for that matter!
1. Learn to be Led
Sometimes constructive feedback is hard to take. Learn to accept it and grow from it.
2. Don’t use social media at work, unless that is your job
Especially when your deadlines aren’t being met. Make sure you are speaking positively about your company, supervisors, or co-workers on social media.
3. Come early, stay late, get the job done
4. Don’t complain about culture
You probably have not worked in enough places with terrible cultures to understand what a bad one looks like.
5. The view is different from the other side of the desk
It may seem like what your manager or boss is doing is “easy” or not as time-consuming. Trust me, it is exponentially more difficult than you think.
6. You learned a lot from your professors, but they could not create a true work environment
Use the next 12-18 months to get as much training as you can.
7. Search out the most successful member of the organization and ask them to mentor you
Offer to take them to lunch or buy them coffee, and don’t look at is an expense. Look at it as an investment in your future.
8. Have an attitude of gratitude
Rest assured, there are a lot of people who would love to be in your position.
9. Read books on different topics that can positively impact your development
10. Think of your overall career path
Fill the gaps in each stop by learning skills, making connections, and growing daily.