Everything you didn't learn in school that will help you survive the world of work. A place for newbies, for working moms, for seasoned professionals and "free agents" to share strategies, tips and tales from the trenches.

Feb 27, 2011

No Sneakers at the Office - Adam Scholl (Book tour)

In Miss Bender's real life workplace, she informally mentors a young professional with real spark, drive, and upward mobility.  (She keeps Miss Bender honest, to tell you the truth.)  Recently, we were talking about some exploring in the job market this NewPro has been doing -- fly fishing really, but you never know when something may strike.  Her biggest concern of the moment (though she has no upcoming prospects from these on-line searches) is how she will  manage to squeeze an interview into her workday.

She says, "I can't suddenly show up one day dressed up."  Because of course her daily attire is jeans, t-shirt over longer t-shirt, and those yes-they-are-sneakers the Red Bull generation wear these days.

I said, with sincere nodding as I crossed my stockinged legs, "That's where you are making your mistake."

As the peskier of the 2 schoolmarms who run this Finishing School, Miss Bender does occasionally check in with the student body on their state of dress, is known to give the once-over during class change, and keeps a black blazer on hand in case you are called to the front office.

As another class enters an already-downsized workforce this spring, The BWFSandSC wants to remind you that appearances do count, and we do take off for spelling.  Your baseball cap in a meeting room is not at all like taking a stand about not wearing a dress to your First Communion.  That was acceptable because you were seven.  Just because your workplace doesn't issue you a uniform, doesn't mean there isn't one.

Into this confusing office culture comes a new guide for new professionals, on everything from office wear basics to etiquette, including business travel, office politics, finding a mentor, managing your time.  These are the things we used to learn in 5th grade health class, but we understand education has changed and you are not often asked to stretch outside of your comfort zone.

Author Adam T. Scholl, MBA, JD, and former Guardsman, has worked in a variety of industries and businesses, and brings that experience to bear in No Sneakers at the Office, which Amazon.com describes as "a step-by-step guide for college seniors, fresh-outs, and professionals under 30 seeking to enter, survive and thrive in corporate America."   Scholl talks about the motivation to share that guide to an emerging workforce in serious need.

Why did you name your book No Sneakers at the Office?
My publisher derived the title from a story that I tell in the opening chapter.  The story illustrates in part why it is important for persons new to the corporate world to know that the mannerisms and behaviors that may have defined one’s time at school will simply not fly in an office environment. 

What are the three biggest mistakes that recent college grads are making as they enter the workforce and how can they fix them?
The three biggest mistakes that I have noticed are
  • overconfidence
  • a weak appreciation of time management
  • poor communication
While confidence is by no means a bad thing and can do much to help recent college grads ascend the corporate ladder, they need to understand that while a college degree is a great achievement, it does not mean their learning days are over.  When it comes to time management, grads need to adopt a time management process so that they manage their workload properly (which is why in No Sneakers at the Office I devoted an entire chapter on this subject).  Grads must understand how to communicate successfully so that their message is received and understood by others.
What is it that recent college grads don't know that could hurt them?

It is not realizing the importance of their professional reputation. The business community is smaller than one realizes.  Your reputation influences employment where you work and where you may wish to work in the future.  

Give us a couple of examples of fresh-out success stories.
While on vacation standing at the check-in line at a hotel, I made small talk with a woman who subsequently introduced me to her son.  He and I spoke for a great length discussing topics from how to get hired to the difference between a job and a career, which I explain in my book.  From this conversation we continued to work to get him the position he wanted.  Because of his hard work improving his resume, improving his interview skills, and more, I am delighted to report that he got a position he likes.  Now, it is not the perfect position but it is a position that will allow for him to progress in his career path.  More importantly, his career is progressing successfully because he is not afraid to ask for help and he is open to new ideas.

What is it that you know for sure after writing this book?
The one thing I know for sure after writing this book is that learning is a lifetime process.  Even with my degrees and experience in the corporate world, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new.  I use the experiences, advice, and suggestions from people I meet to create an ever increasing toolkit of business skills and abilities.

No Sneakers at the Office makes a perfect graduation gift.  But you can bet they will roll their eyes when they open it.

Tell us your Office Lessons Learned Young through our comments window, or by joining our Facebook fanpage.  We'll be posting micro-excerpts from Scholl's guide throughout the day for your reactions.

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