Advice for Young Professionals: Tips on Keeping a Job

I know we have talked about this topic in the past but it’s an important subject and young professionals (as well as seasoned execs) need a refresher from time to time. Here are a few tips on keeping a job and keeping that paycheck rolling in:

    • Look at your watch! Punctuality is right up there with brushing your teeth – just do it.Arrive to work a few minutes early each day (especially on your first day, to allow time for any leftover paperwork). Remember not to overextend your lunch hour, and be the first (not the last) person to arrive to the morning meeting.  The same goes for turning in those monthly reports!
    • Avoid the water cooler.  Earning a reputation as the office gossip can put your job (and career!) in jeopardy.  Avoid negative office chatter at all costs. Instead, make an earnest attempt to be a positive role model and learn as much as you can about the company, the corporate culture and how you can be an asset.
    • Know how to accept criticism.  Don’t confuse criticism with training. When the time comes for your supervisor to offer constructive criticism, accept it as an opportunity to grow.  It is being offered to help you improve your job performance.  Don’t read too much into it, avoid getting defensive or upset, and by all means, make the recommended changes.
    • Get involved in the office.  When volunteers are needed, step up and happily offer to help.  The same goes for the holiday party committee and annual charity fundraiser.  You want to be visible and cheerful, always willing to help.
    • Network outside of the office.  Your next (and better) job often comes your way when you regularly attend networking events.  The greater your network, the better your chances are of keeping your current job and advancing your career.
    • Take your job seriously. If you just graduated, the last thing an employer wants to hear is that you do not like waking up early or don’t like being on a schedule. You are getting paid a salary to be a professional – take advantage of the opportunity.
    • Attitude is (close to) everything.  Be the kind of employee you’d like to spend time with.  Glass half full, eager to help, punctual and kind.

For more business tips, refer to my business etiquette archives.

Good Luck,


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.


  1. Anne says

    Hi Diane,
    As always, I appreciate your posts. The only thing I don’t agree with is the smiley face. I concur that they are too often over-used, but in a pinch, I think they can work as shorthand to soften a message. Having worked remotely in various settings, I know that emoticons can help when tone of voice or body language are not available cues.

  2. Diane says

    Hello Anne,
    I actually agree with you. However, overusing any emoticon appears unprofessional. The keyword is here is overuse:) Thank you for your continued support.


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