What advice would you give?
I would tell them:
- Study people. There are few jobs that do not require people skills. You don't have to become a back-slapper, but you need to be able to work well with others. You also need to be able to spot the weasels.
- Learn to listen. Strive to grasp what the person means and not just what was said.
- Gain a reputation for reliability. In many fields, reliability will get you further than genius.
- Prepare to be surprised. If your plans don't permit you to adjust to changing circumstances, then you have not planned well.
- Know where to draw your ethical boundaries. There are times when you have to say "No" and stick with that answer regardless of the cost.
- Persist. You will have set-backs. You will blunder. You will get depressed. Forge an iron-clad determination to keep moving forward.
- Don't believe in miracles. If one knocks on your door, then good for you, but when it knocks, let it find you working.
- Always be learning. You are probably tired of hearing this, but your time in school was just the beginning of your education.
- Ask for guidance. You'll be surprised at how willing most people are to help you. And when you ask for their advice, listen carefully to what they say and what they don't say.
- Don't be too harsh on yourself. Be as tolerant of your own mistakes as you should be for those of others.