My roomate Sho attended a lecture the other day by Steven Asbury. Steven runs a design firm in Eugene, OR and specializes in print design, but also has valuable experience in maintaining professionalism in the office. Here are the 20 tips he shared with my roomate for remaining professional in the office (they’re aimed at designers, but anyone doing work in journalism can use these):
1. Drive can beat experience.
2. Smile – even when work/life sucks.
3. Be Switzerland (*1).
4. Double check everything.
5. Writers should get to know designers, and designers should get to know writers.
6. Pick your battles.
7. Designers and photographers… Read the stories before you begin.
8. Getting it right still beats getting it first.
9. Look beyond your own publication.
10. Keep a portfolio. Improve upon it constantly.
11. Never miss an opportunity to market yourself. Show your portfolio to anyone who will look.
12. Make contacts. Make contacts. Make contacts.
13. Be accountable for mistakes. Everyone makes them, and they’ll be forgotten much faster if you just admit that you screwed up and move on.
14. Don’t get caught in “the moat of suckiness (*2).”
15. Never bring dirty laundry to a job interview.
16. Know the industry. Read the blogs.
17. Keep track of job postings.
18. Be the answer person. Say “yes” a lot.
19. Solve any conflicts before you go home for the day.
20. Show enthusiasm at work by getting involved.
*1: Meaning: don’t take sides. If you take sides, it will later limit your work whether your side wins or loses.
*2: The moat of suckiness is where you and your fellows can freely enjoy criticizing other staff and the things you don’t like at the workplace. If you are stuck in there, you will be totally unproductive and losing lots of opportunities.