Doostang News July 19: Turning an Internship into a Job

Equity Research Associate, New York, NY
Associate Adjustor, Nationwide
Investment Banking Intern, San Francisco, CA
Campus Director in Training, Multiple Locations
Financial Analyst, Los Angeles, CA

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If you’re going to give up your precious summer break or coveted after-school and weekend hours to intern at a company, you sure as heck want to get something out of it, right?  But parlaying your internship into a full-time opportunity can be tricky, and it’s hard to determine the most tactful way to advocate for yourself.  Here are a few things you can do to leave a company wanting more:

Meet Goals

It may seem obvious, but many a deficient intern has left their work unfinished, failing to see the long-term repercussions of the loose ends they leave – after all, it’s not your problem once school starts back up in the fall, is it?  Well, yes it is, actually.  Because if you want solid recommendations or a possible job waiting for you when you graduate, you really need to put forth your best effort.  Demonstrate that, even as an unpaid, inexperienced intern, you are someone that your boss can rely on.  And if you manage to complete your work early, go a step further and volunteer to take on other projects.  You’ll really make a difference at a company and they’ll be anxious to have you back.

Learn

Another common mistake that interns make is taking a very narrow view of their work.  When you have tunnel vision at an internship, you squander one of the most important reasons you are there – to learn.  Showing up at an internship isn’t just about getting through the day and then slapping it on your resume after three months.  It’s getting to know the ins and outs of an industry, so that you are more qualified to assume a full-time position in this sector when you’re through.  When you graduate, your goal probably isn’t to land another similar internship.  So try to cultivate the skill set of a more advanced position within the company by paying attention to what’s going on around you and helping out in creative ways.

Socialize

For full time workers, one of the greatest advantages of having interns around the office is being able to interact with promising, vibrant students and other young individuals.  So don’t be shy and indulge your coworkers a little.  You’ll learn a lot about the company and the industry by doing so, and these interactions will shed light on the more personal aspects of the job – how easy it is to manage work with a family, what sort of people you can expect to encounter, etc.  More than this, the people you meet will be the individuals who will vouch for you later on.

Show Gratitude

Because an internship generally requires you to show up on a regular basis, it can be easy to take for granted the opportunity you have…and to forget to thank those who helped you along the way.  So make sure to say “thanks” every once in awhile, and definitely send thank you notes to the individuals who really had an impact on your experience when your internship is up.

Stay in Touch

Just because your internship ends doesn’t mean the relationships you established along the way have to end too.  Make sure to email people you met along the way from time to time – to ask questions about jobs, to check in and see how they are doing, to share an exciting experience in school, etc.  It’s far better to keep in touch with people in a friendly manner than to merely contact them out of the blue when you need something.


While it may seem sometimes that you have the raw end of the deal in an internship that doesn’t pay you very well – if at all – and demands a lot of your time, it really is a unique and valuable experience that you can benefit from in more ways than one.  Hard work, gratitude, and friendliness can take you far.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News June 21 – Office Tips for the Recent Graduate

Investment Analyst, New York, NY
Research Analyst, Boston, MA
Private Equity Associate, Chicago, IL
Entry Level Consultant, Houston, TX
Financial Consultant, Los Angeles, CA

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Earning a degree is a huge feat, something you should celebrate and be proud of. And while the thrill of throwing your cap into the air may not wear off for months to come, it’s important to keep things in perspective when you step foot into the office. The real world is much larger than the classroom, and you will suddenly find yourself dealing with a more varied array of people. Here are a few pointers that will help ease that transition from dorm room to boardroom.

Lose the Sense of Entitlement

You’re on an even playing field with your peers from Day 1 – if anything, you actually have something to prove. So don’t assume that since you have just graduated from a top institute, people are going to give you extra credit; you left that behind in the classroom. Perhaps others will praise you for your stellar education, but that doesn’t give you license to act like a know-it-all or to make even subtle demands about what you need and what you are there for. If you start getting a big head, you’re going to get knocked down a few pegs very quickly. Instead, behave graciously. Don’t assume anything, and go out of your way to be friendly and an eager learner. That will endear you more to your coworkers than the letters behind your name.

Advocate for Yourself

No one in the office will be watching or evaluating you as they did so painstakingly back at the university, so if you don’t assert yourself, you might get overlooked. When you complete a big project, make sure to go over it with your boss. Ensure that your superiors are aware of the work you have done, and show a greater level of involvement by offering to review it with them. Your coworkers are busy people, so if you don’t pipe up just a little bit, they may temporarily overlook your efforts, or worse, dismiss you altogether.

Lay Low

Somewhat of a juxtaposition to our last tip, laying low is important when you first enter a job as a recent grad. Of course, you should never let your office accomplishments fly under the radar – make sure to bring those up with the Big Guy – but you should hang back a little while until you can tune into the vibe of your office. What does this mean? It means that you should figure out how your peers like to work and try to assimilate. Do people like to collaborate on projects? Or do they have a more independent working style? Is the office a casual environment where people sport T-shirts and sandals each day? Or are you expected to wear a suit and tie Monday through Friday? Some of these answers may be fairly obvious at the outset, but it’s important to really get the lay of the land before you inadvertently disrupt the harmony.

Trading in campus, 1PM lectures, and hoodies for the office, 7AM meetings, and starched collars can come as a bit of a shock. But if you keep these simple pointers in mind you’ll pick up the new routine and discover some new joys – office softball leagues, Friday cupcakes from Betty at the front desk, gift exchanges, etc. – in no time!

Here’s to getting older and wiser!

The Doostang Team

Doostang News June 7 – Bring Some Green into Your Office Routine!

green-jobInvestment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Program Associate, Los Angeles, CA
Private Equity Associate, Boston, MA
Marketing Coordinator, Washington, DC
Financial Analyst, San Francisco, CA

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On the heels of World Environment Day and with environmentalism more of a pressing global issue than ever, it’s important to take some time to reflect on ways we can make a difference individually – and this includes our habits in the office.  It may not have occurred to you to consider this before, but there are many ways you can reduce your impact just by being a bit more mindful at work.  Here’s how:

Use Less Paper

This one’s great because there are numerous ways you can save paper.  Don’t print stuff that you don’t really need, and if you absolutely have to print something out, consider using the backside of old scratch paper or printing on both sides.  If you can, reduce the font size so that your documents are shorter.  And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS recycle!

Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Many offices come with your standard water cooler, but much to environmentalists’ chagrin, many more offices are beginning to stock their kitchenettes with bottled water.  While it’s important to stay hydrated as you while away the hours at your desk, be a bit more environmentally conscious.  Bring your own water bottle and spare all those paper cups or plastic bottles you would have gone through otherwise.

Use Less Electricity

It’s tempting to leave your computer on at the end of the day so that you can keep up documents and Internet windows that you’re going to use the following morning, but try to suck it up and turn it off.  Save your work and bookmark what you’ll need to look at later, and you’ll spend very little extra effort the next day, all the while saving a considerable amount of energy.  Also make it a point to turn off lights when they’re not in use, whether this be in a conference room, bathroom, or your office when you’re going out to lunch.

Carpool

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by commuting to work in a responsible manner.  Talk to your office buddies about setting up a carpool – which is a much better way to start your day than braving the horrendous traffic on your own.  Or better still, take the bus or walk to the office if you’re close enough.  In addition to creating less pollution, you’ll also spend less on gas and won’t have to worry about parking.

One of the greatest joys of finishing your workday is the moment you step outside and enjoy the fresh air.  So remember to give a little back while you’re enduring the daily grind and make more Earth friendly choices!

Have a beautiful day,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News April 12: Office Buddy Etiquette

Hedge Fund Intern, New York, NY
Consultant, Boston, MA
Investment Associate, SF Bay Area, CA
New Media Distribution Associate, Los Angeles, CA
Event Driven Equity Trader, Chicago, IL

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Understanding the office social scene is simple – all you have to know is that it’s nuanced and tricky, just like the scene back in the real world. Frankly, not a lot changes over the years – the cool kids that dominated the swing set have now set up camp at the copy machine; feuding jungle gym brigades have reestablished themselves at their respective cubicle clusters; and there’s still the one guy that nobody wanted to invite to go Laser Tagging back in 5th grade, and he’s still tagging along after happy hour. Some may feel that it’s not worth it to get embroiled in this mess, but when you spend many of your waking hours at the office, it’s great to have some comrades to help you get through the day. After all, you have a lot in common with these people already. So read on for some unspoken code:

Don’t Run with the Wrong Crowd

It was the same with all of the bullies or the popular kids who didn’t have time for anyone else in school – the tools in the office will find that everyone is watching and waiting to see them fall. If you’re part of a circle that ostracizes or belittles others – even in a joking way – your relationships with others in the office will slowly crumble. More importantly, this will start to interfere with your work. If people don’t feel like they can trust you or work with you, you may be saying Sayonara to the other sleazebags before you know it.

Be Popular

On a related note, be nice to everyone. Get to know and take an interest in a lot of different people. Doing so will disassociate you from any of the stigma that can go along with office cliques, and you won’t have to worry yourself over workplace drama as much. People will be excited to work with you and share ideas if they know that you are friendly and easy to talk to. And, if you’re friends with everyone in the office, you’ll know you can rely on more people. More than this, building more relationships at work will enrich your office life, as you’ll become acquainted with some pretty neat people.

Know Who your Friends Are

Perhaps one of the deepest senses of betrayal you’ve felt in your life was the first time a so-called friend sold you out to someone else. Instances like these aren’t contained to childhood, when our pals traded their way up to hang out with someone cooler or blamed us for breaking the crystal flower vase. In fact, you’ll find that this can happen frequently in an office if you aren’t more discerning about which relationships to cultivate. Because there is more at stake in an office environment, it’s important to really get to know someone before you can trust them with your hopes, fears, secrets, or personal life. Don’t go telling every coworker how much you hate your boss or that you’re looking for a new job unless you’re curious to see just how quickly such information can find its way up to your superiors (spoiler alert – it doesn’t take very long).

Office buddies are great – they’re the people who will crack a quick joke to snap you out of that dismal, glossy-eyed haze at the computer; they’ll grab a drink with you after a long day; and they’ll joke about the horrendous client that just came in and made your life miserable for the last hour. Above all, they’ll give you something to look forward to when you wake up at the crack of dawn to get to work. Just one more rule: remember to stay businesslike at the office, even if that’s where you met your rowdiest group of buds.

Your friend,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News Feb 8: Be Mine, Valentine! Avoiding the Lusty Coworker

Hedge Fund Associate Analyst, New York, NY
Senior Project Manager, Los Angeles, CA
VC / PE Associate (Pre-MBA), San Francisco, CA
Manager – Energy Marketing, Chicago, IL
Investment Banking Analyst, Washington, DC

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Bill in HR coming on too strong? Janice playing footsy under the desk? Yeee-up. We’ve all been there. Whether you underwent your first awkward dance of unrequited love in the third grade or your third year of college, you’ll notice that the rules of the game don’t change much from the sandbox to the cubicle. But hey! No need to suffer – Doostang’s here to spare every hopeless romantic a little heartache. Keep reading for a list of tactful approaches to the advances of your love-struck coworkers.

Remain Calm

This is not a drill! And matters of the heart are of the utmost delicacy. In one fell swoop you can shatter a person’s dignity. It’s fairly obvious that when someone musters up the courage to profess their feelings or ask you out on a date, that no matter what your response, you need to be kind. More than this, when you are in the workplace you need to act professionally. It may be tempting to gawk at someone’s audacity, but if you laugh in their face or come back with a snide reply, you’re going to make the situation far more uncomfortable for yourself and for that other person. Remember, you work with this individual, so chances are you’re going to see them on a daily basis. It’s no fun having to time your jaunts to the water cooler or painfully wait to use the restroom in order to avoid having a one-on-one with said individual…because …well because this is what you were trying to avoid in the first place, now wasn’t it?

Steer Clear of Gossip

Yeah, maybe it was funny when socially awkward Frank with the taped glasses strolled in, proposing a night out on the town. But unless Frank mentioned a party bus, don’t go sharing the news with all of your office buddies. Doing so is disrespectful to that other person and has the potential to start nasty rumors. The workplace is a very small world, and things have a way of getting back to other people. Gossip is never a safe bet, and, more than this, it’s just plain unprofessional.

Seek Assistance

A little unsolicited flirting can be endearing sometimes, but when Cupid is launching an all out barrage of heart-shaped arrows your way, it may be time to take matters to a higher power. If you have already conveyed to a coworker that you are not interested and they still won’t take a hint, or, worse yet, begin treating you disrespectfully, you have every right to talk to a manager or Human Resources representative. Companies take sexual harassment very seriously, and you should report it the moment it becomes an issue.

Be Honest

While not necessarily a token of advice specific to the workplace, the golden rule of honesty is generally a good one to live by in any scenario. Picture this: Barbara approaches you outside the office kitchenette, asking if you’re free to join her for pizza Friday night. Don’t fib and tell her that you already have a girlfriend or you’re allergic to pizza, because when the GF fails to show up to company soirees time and again or you have to opt out of office pizza parties, you’re going to feel like a fool. Have the sense to tell the truth. How about, “You know, I’m really not looking to date anyone right now, I’m focused on my work.” Or maybe drop a hint like, “I’m not sure that Friday will work for me, but maybe you can come along with me and some of the guys in the office to grab pizza at lunch.” People will respect and appreciate you much more in the long run if you respect them enough to tell the truth.

Matters of the heart are tricky. And matters of the heart mixed with matters in the workplace can turn sour very quickly. So keep it sweet this Valentine’s Day, and implement a little tact into your office romance routine.

Love,

Your Secret Admirer (The Doostang Team!)

Good Employees Avoid Bad Habits – A List of Common Workplace Faux Pas (Part 2)

bad-workplace-behavior

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Principal Consultant, Nationwide
Associate – Private Equity Firm, Bay Area, CA
Business Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Equity Trader, Washington, DC

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Hey you! Nail-biter! Stop talking with your mouth full of food! It’s time for Doostang’s second installment of bad workplace habits to avoid. That’s right – last time we conquered potty mouths, online game addictions, Negative Nancies, and fashion disasters. Confused? Check it out and go for a little refresher read if you’re already spewing obscenities or showing up to work in scrubs (except for you, Doc). And, if we didn’t give you enough to focus on last go-around, we’re slapping your wrist just a few more times with the following career-saving precautions. Onward!

The Early Bird Catches the Worm; The Late Bird…Gets Fired

Ok, maybe it doesn’t go quite like that. But it’s safe to assume that if you’re chronically late, you may find yourself packing your work life into a cardboard box before you hit the road for the very last time. Whether you work on the clock or have a more informal standing date with the office, it’s imperative to show up to work on time. Failure to do so implies laziness. Employers will feel hesitant to rely on you if you are inconsistent or don’t seem to care. It’s ok if you get held up from time to time – just be sure to make the proper phone calls to the individuals whose schedules you will affect, so that they can plan accordingly. Your start time is a commitment, one you should hold yourself to if you want to excel in a company.

procrastinationThere’s No Time Like The Present!

Got a big project to work on? Work on it now! Don’t let it loom over you like a dark cloud. Ever notice how sometimes the mere notion of a certain task can be just as bad – or worse – than the task itself? The longer you continue putting it off, the more you draw it out. Since anticipation intensifies the pain, cut it out of the equation. Turn that assignment in early and get it off your hands (and score bonus points with the boss). Another drawback to waiting it out is that you may miscalculate and run into unforeseen obstacles that you failed to work into your timeline – and then you’re really hosed, because then you’re submitting late work…and we all know what happens to that late bird…

“When I Want Your Opinion I’ll Give it to You”

…A wise man once said. We hearken back to individuality here: in the same manner that a dress code eclipses uniqueness, so too does the unspoken rule that sometimes you just need to sit down and shut up. This plays itself out in multiple ways.

1. You find yourself at a company meeting. Unless this happens to be an open discussion forum, it’s advisable not to chime in every other PowerPoint slide.

2. Your boss decides to do something one way. Your wisdom and expertise establishes you the authority on matters, inspiring you to inform him of a better way. But unless your superior is at risk of putting the company in peril, unsolicited advice can very often spell out insubordination.

3. Even the largest corporations are receptive to employee feedback, but if you disagree with a company policy on principle rather than effectiveness, no one wants to hear about it. Your employer’s mission statement is your mantra from nine to five. Remember if you’re not the Big Guy in the office, you don’t run the show.

trophy2On Your Superhuman Abilities:

While you may rightly deserve praise for every glorious feat you perform in the office, the simple truth is that no one is going to give it to you every single time. That said, when you actively claim credit for everything you do, you may aggravate your coworkers or your boss. Performing well is your job, and no one is going to give you a gold star for every small personal victory. Be content to quietly accept praise when it is given, and your employer will appreciate you all the more. Equally as important, remember to share credit with others when it is due, and your coworkers will be gracious. When you try to one up the people working around you (or appear to do so by drawing unnecessary attention to your good deeds) you sow the seeds for resentment in the minds and hearts of your office buddies.

Our devotion of two blog entries to bad workplace habits may convey a certain pessimism in humankind of the career ilk. But of course here at Doostang we know that avoiding common workplace slipups boils down to common sense. As long as you’re a hard worker and pleasant to be around, you’ve got most of it down. Just remember not to interrupt when someone’s talking!

Much love,

The Doostang Team

Good Employees Avoid Bad Habits – A List of Common Workplace Faux Pas (Part 1)

Investment Banking Analyst – Technology, San Francisco, CA
Marketing Analyst, Boston, MA
Principal – Private Equity, Los Angeles, CA
Copywriter/Proofreader, New York, NY
Junior Consultant, London, UK

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A habit can be difficult to break; and, depending on the context, can make or break you. While some habits are assets in certain situations – such as always having an opinion or sticking out from the crowd – they can sometimes play to your detriment. Thus, equally important as changing some behavioral patterns is knowing when to tweak them just a little bit. And because people in the workforce tend to be an unruly bunch, Doostang is making this one a “two-parter” to ensure we cover all the bases. Read on for a list of our first installment of common bad workplace habits to avoid.

swearingWash that Mouth out with Soap!

When in doubt: keep it clean. And even when not in doubt:…keep it clean. (This one tends to resonate strongest with the recent grad crowd.) Swearing in the workplace is unprofessional, and you never know whom you’re going to offend. Your best bet is to speak in a manner that would befit your grandmother. If the old lady’s got a sailor mouth on her, find some other cute little granny to do right by. Try to avoid speech tics such as “like”, “um”, or “ya know”. Colloquialisms like “what up”, “yo”, or “later” shouldn’t be used right out of the gate. Finally, Kathy at reception isn’t “dude”, and your boss isn’t your “bro”.

Game Over

Hopefully we can all agree that your job is more important than a new high score. So please, for your own sake, log off of “Mafia Wars”, close the Minesweeper window, turn off whatever game it is that tickles your fancy and eats up your time. It’s ok to play a quick game to de-stress from time to time, but if all you can think about is racking up points on your online Bejeweled account, you have bigger problems…because your online activity probably isn’t going to fly with your boss. On a similar note, avoid excessive online chatting or checking your personal email account every five minutes. All these distractions will still be there when your shift ends. But during your working hours, your priority should be work.

Stay Positive!

Even if your job leaves you wanting to punch a wall, try not to complain about it all the time. People have a low tolerance for whiners in the office, so keep it to yourself or find someone else to vent to. If you see a problem, come up with a way to fix it instead of grumbling about it or pawning it off on someone else to boot. Others will admire, feed off of, and promote your positive energy. And, at the end of the day, they’ll be more likely to want to keep you around.

Dress to the Nines

The dress code: perhaps you feel that this doesn’t apply to you because you are an individual.

But dress codes exist for a reason – to uphold professionalism in the workplace. Stepping outside of the bounds may feel cool or liberating, but it can convey to your coworkers that you don’t care, or that you’re simply a slob. Companies vary on their policies regarding work attire, so it’s generally a good idea to dress more conservatively until you have a good idea of what the expectations are.

Habits don’t disappear overnight. It takes time and dedication to change a pattern of behavior, so be patient! And stay tuned for yet another list of faux pas to conquer.

Until next time,
The Doostang Team