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The only 8 tips you’ll need to succeed at the start of your career

Maynard Webb’s sage advice for entry-level engineers applies to all early-career employees looking to “live up to their destiny.”

The only 8 tips you’ll need to succeed at the start of your career
[Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng/Unsplash]
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Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at dearfounder@fastcompany.com.

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Q. What advice would you give an entry-level engineer as they start their career?

–CEO with a promising new hire

Dear CEO,

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First, I would congratulate them and tell them that they are very accomplished to get this job. Then I would make it clear that it is now up to them to live up to their destiny. You may be the boss but ultimately, they are the caretaker of their career.

Here are eight tips that I often share to help someone start on the right track and help them succeed.

  1. Get voted onto the team every day. Earn the right to be in this role. Be someone who can both be counted on and who people want to be with.
  2. It’s all about integrity. Do what you say. Say what you do. Always act in a way that makes people remember you positively.
  3. Have a great attitude. You might be brilliant, but if you are hard to manage, it’s easy to find someone else. Be fun and easy to work with. Be calm and collected in times of need—that will inspire people to seek you out.
  4. Be empathetic. In line with Stephen Covey’s principles: Seek first to understand. Offer care and offer support. Always be genuine and thoughtful.
  5. Knock on doors! Volunteer for jobs. Raise your hand to participate in difficult projects. Ask how you can help. Worried you won’t have bandwidth? You’ll find that the more you push against your potential, the more it grows.
  6. Don’t confuse action for traction. So many people work very hard and are utterly exhausted, but they don’t achieve anything that will matter in the long run. Prioritize where you direct your energy. Similarly, pick your battles. There are a million things to be upset about in any work situation, so only fight about things that are important and that will move the needle.
  7. Work for a higher purpose. When I worked at eBay, we didn’t see our work as selling stuff from people’s attics. We viewed it as creating e-commerce and empowering a generation of entrepreneurs. No matter what your job is, understand that its impact is broader than making money. Then, you will find more meaning in what you do every day, and a higher purpose will guide you through the inevitable tough days.
  8. Have fun. Those who spend their time working on things they love are the ones enjoying life the most. Don’t be afraid take a risk to chase your dreams.