Relax and Lighten Up

When you find yourself obsessing about whether you're doing a good enough job, if you're moving fast enough, when you're going to screw up again or just how you're going to survive your first job, take a step back, take a deep breath, stop worrying so much and lighten up! Don't stop giving it your all, but at the same time, give yourself permission to walk around with a smile on your face. Above all, retain your sense of humor. If you don't have much of a sense of humor to begin with, acquire one. Learn to laugh at your own mistakes and at the absurdity around you (without offending anyone of course); be open and approachable; retain an easygoing, light-hearted, fun persona (without going overboard) and you'll be the person others will be drawn to. You'll be the one who stands out, and your magnetic personality will serve you well throughout your entire career.

When you start an entry-level job, no one will expect you to have much experience, but you will be expected to jump right in—get involved, learn as much as you can as quickly as you can, have a great attitude, move fast, anticipate the needs of others and be there to help and support your co-workers.

It could take six months or three years to start moving up from the lowest rung on the ladder, but if you're patient, it'll happen. Come in earlier and stay later than required, finish tasks sooner than expected, give more and do more than you're asked, and eventually, instead of just helping and doing things for others, you'll have others wanting to help you. Don't complain, keep a smile on your face and an imaginary "Can Do" written across your forehead. Forget that you're overqualified to be making coffee and delivering scripts and picking up the bagels and cream cheese for the morning meeting. You're there to learn and to get noticed. Be prepared and walk in with confidence, because you know what's expected of you, and you're there to deliver.

"The only safe thing is to take a chance."—Mike Nichols

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