What first job lessons do you still use today and is there anything new?

When I stared my first job, my Dad told me that a first impression cannot be repeated.  “No matter how big you get in life,” he said, “remember to always polish your shoes before you go to a meet someone new.”

As I progressed I remembered more of his golden rules that worked against me when I forget them.

Some evergreens include:

  • Smile, whether in person, on the phone or in writing, customers can feel positive energy.
  • Remember who is paying and treat them well, especially if you want them to come back.
  • By giving good service repeat business is easier than trying to impress to get new customers.
  • Don’t fight with the customer; you will only lose.
  • Make you mark while you can. No-one is ever redundant, but the job can be.

As I look back on some of the global giants where I have worked I reconcile the jobs I did became redundant when they were gobbled up to bigger fish.  I recall a friend who moved to the Giant CRA group in late 1970’s to headed up one of its jewels  called Australian Minimal and Smelting, listed as AM&S.

When I joined CRA 15 years later he had retired and so had the mine he ran. I asked if anyone knew him and the answer was no. Even ,more telling was  no one had even heard of AM&S. I eventually found it as a record in a box in the archives.

The dual listing merger of CRA to that formed RTZ not long after also meant even CRA was also then gone.

The lesson for me lesson was to make my mark while I could, and carry that forward. Like the hand in the bucket of water, once out the hole it made is gone, but not the hand that had learned how to make the hole in the first place.

You now understand why I love the quizzical quotes like

“What ever happened to Randolph Scott?” and

“Did anyone notice Pan AM was missing?”

Saying it all is in song lyrics is Living Next Door to Alice”  co-written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman and originally released by the Australian vocal harmony trio New World in 1972.

We do live in turbulent times for sure where the only constant is change. The advice I get now is still not to forget all those good life lessons but also be adaptive to change  as a way of life.



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