A few things I am going to stop/start doing in my professional life

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on where I want my career to go. I’ve decided to stop doing the following things. Maybe some of them will help you all out as well:

1. Stop asking people for stuff all the time:

As young people who are just starting out, we’re always thinking of the next step. With that comes asking for recommendations when applying for fellowships, training programs, etc. While its great to have mentors who are willing to speak on your behalf, people will associate you with always asking for something if the only time you hit them up is for a favor.

2. Build genuine relationships with people. Don’t always have an angle:

In this business I’ve always been told “It’s not what you know, but who.” While that’s true, it can deprave people of building relationships with like-minded professionals. Don’t be someone who’s not genuine. It’ll hurt you.

3. Stop trying to find validation through people I know:

I’m going to stop saying “Oh, I know such and such. He’s a friend of mine”, to try and gain acceptance from other people. If you continue to do that, people will associate you with someone else, not by the work you do. Don’t use people as ladders.

4. Letting my work and not my resume speak for me.

I, like many others, have gotten more caught up in what my resume says and not what my portfolio consists of. I don’t want to look up one day and realize I have produced nothing.

5. Stop being afraid to fail in front of people:

Failure is embarrassing. But no one bats 1,000. People generally understand that.

6. Stop letting people take credit for my work:

This is a big one. In the professional realm, young people often don’t get credit for the work they do. If somebody else takes credit for something i’ve done, I am going to start speaking up. Can’t rise if people don’t know you’re the one doing the work.

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