Today is the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls. Take a moment to reflect and feel old. Done? It ends up that you can find inspiration from unlikely sources, in this case, the Plastics and the other unlucky inhabitants of the school (oh and that girl who doesn’t even go there).
1. When you are the new person at work, make a few friends: Do you have a Damon and Janice? Find one or two people at work and try to become friends with them. Invite them to coffee or lunch. Being the new person at work is much more comfortable when you have a few friends who can help you understand the ins and outs of the office.
2. Brainstorm, strategize, and always have backup plans: Brainstorm far in advance. Anticipate potential problems and find solutions. Always have a backup plan.
3. JFGI: A wise friend of mine once told me about an acronym her coworkers use, JFGI, otherwise known as Just Fucking Google It. Save your questions for those that have to do with company procedures and things that you can’t Google. Example: What time do people usually get to work? (Ask it!) What is the Excel command for counting the number of characters in a cell? Is butter a carb? What are kalteen bars? JFGI.
4. Learn industry jargon: Learn industry jargon and become familiar with the types of things that people in your industry care about. For example, I know that people in my industry respond well to the terms SEO, ROI, and engagement.
5. Be your own best advocate: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is that you have to be your own best advocate. Someone told me, “If you don’t advocate for yourself, who will?” Hopefully you are fortunate enough to work somewhere where people promote one another, but it is also your responsibility to let people know when something great happens. Make it known. I also recommend keeping an email folder and a file folder called your “happiness folder,” or some slightly less corny name. Keep track of any congratulatory emails you get because they are great to read when you are having an off day or as a reminder of your accomplishments when you are ready to negotiate for a promotion!
7. Don’t gossip: Unless you work in a perfect workplace, people probably gossip a bit at work. People won’t always get along or agree with one another. Don’t gossip or create backchannels. If you have feedback or something constructive to tell someone, tell them directly. (Recommended Reading: The Dangers of Workplace Gossip)
What career secrets did you learn from Mean Girls? What would you add?