cc license, eyeliam
I worked a few hours for my Dad and Uncle this summer helping out at their business. They own a sand and gravel company that’s been in our family since 1979. While selling dirt to landscapers and homeowners doesn’t seem related to the world of online communications, I still felt that my time spent there was worthwhile.
Some people don’t recognize the value of working in non-related field, but I’ve seen that the themes of customer service and running a business can be universal. I took orders and answered questions on topics that I was learning for the first time. It reminded me to be patient, think quickly and smile often.
It also gave me valuable perspective on the relationships that help support a family run business. I appreciated getting to see how my dad and uncle interact with long-time customers and community members they’ve come to know well.
I have no idea if I’ll ever take over the family biz. It’s hard to say how I’ll feel in 10 or 20 years from now, but working there reminded me of how I would want to run any future business. My father always taught me the value of hard work early in life from living by example. He has always been my role model, especially now as a recent college graduate ready to start a new job.
My advice to a friend would be never to dismiss an opportunity and get the most out of any role you take on. Having a strong work ethic is important at any job. Don’t let yourself slack off and use the excuse that your job is a waste or irrelevant to your career. Any experience can be made valuable if you have the right mindset.
What lessons have you learned from working in the dirt…or other jobs?
cc license, jeremy.wilburn
Last week was our Otterbein Cardinal Career Luncheon. It’s a networking lunch that alumni relations and career services sponsor each year for junior and seniors. I had a chance to sit and talk with public relations and marketing pro Crystal Olig from Oxiem. She is an excellent role model and has some great insights on our generation. I wanted to share some of the advice I gathered from our talk.
1. Try to be honest when you run into with someone. The nature of business is that you may have to see former clients, or perhaps a potential client that didn’t sign with your agency. Smile and be courteous, but also be honest. Don’t be silly and pretend you don’t remember them. Wish them the best of luck in their future business and remain genuine.
2. Ask for business card from everyone. This was Crystal’s advice especially for large networking events and conferences. Even if someone is about to turn their shoulder and exit the conversation, ask for that business card before they go. You will surprise people when you follow up later, because not everyone takes that extra step.
3. Never turn down an invitation to a networking event when you are new somewhere. Crystal relocated to Columbus earlier last year and worked to make connections and start meeting locals. Unless you are unavailable that night make an effort to take all invites to network and get out. She joked that you should take invites from boring people too because they might have really fun friends you can meet.
4. Find some newsletter publications that relate to your career field or goals. I subscribe to blogs and follow articles shared on by my network on Twitter, but I don’t currently subscribe to any newsletters. I thought this was a smart tip for students looking to learn and a good way to stay current on trends from a reliable source.
You can learn more about Crystal by following her on Twitter or check out her site whY genY. This post is my version of a Gen Y thank you note to her.