Earbuds & Success


From the looks of it,  this blog should be about earbuds.  It is, kind of.  I want to offer a few basic rules to make sure your earbuds don’t get in the way of your success in your new job or internship.

First, let’s consider a scenario:

It’s your first day on the job and the phone rings. You answer and an upset client is on the other end. You freeze, and get a bit freaked out, because it’s an important client and you don’t want to mess up, on your first day.

What do you do?

This is a scenario that many of you may experience on your first day.  It is one of many situations where you’re not quite sure what to do because you’re new.  So, what do you do? Listen, ask, and observe.  Sounds quite obvious, right?

You’re right.  These three simple words/rules – listen, ask, observe – can teach you so much.  Yet, if you have a moment where you tune out, maybe put in your earbuds and turn on some music to help pass the time or focus on a project, you could miss out.

I recently spoke with a new colleague here at Penn, and she reminded me of just how much you can learn from eavesdropping – the good kind. How do you handle an upset client on the phone? Listen to how another colleague handles an upset client.  What is going on in the office?  Look around and observe. How do you get invited to an important meeting, or even know if one is taking place? Again, listen and see.

These are three little things that can make a BIG difference in your first few weeks on the job. You may just get invited to an important meeting or lunch.  You can learn how to handle difficult situations. It’s important to make a good first impression. So, remember – listen, ask, and observe. Avoid putting in those earbuds to pass the time, because opportunity could pass you by.