June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Dan Danbom is a Denver writer and the author of "Humor Meets the Workforce: Make Laughter One of Your Organization's Goals." LAST LAUGH B Y D A N D A N B O M D ear Graduates of the Class of 2016: I come to you today as an ambassador from the world of business, knowing that those of you who do not see a future that involves study abroad, a large inheritance, or a spouse who is a children's dentist will seek your place in the world of commerce. I also know that the majority of you expect to be- come millionaires. After you pay off your student debt, of course. It's an ambitious goal to become a millionaire, but a worthy one, particularly if you use premium gasoline. And business is a good place to achieve that goal, unless you are left-handed and can throw a good breaking curveball. If you seek your fortune in business, the inescapable fact is that a business must first hire you. If you graduated at the top of your class from Stanford with a degree in software engineering, this isn't a problem, but if you are a "C" student and your degree was in comparative clay, you'll need all the help you can get. So, I want to share with you some thoughts about your first post- graduate challenge: how to get a job. Some of you will be unfairly limited in the sorts of jobs you may want, not only because you bring no marketable skills to the table, or indeed even to the desk, but also because something possessed you to have your entire face pierced and tattooed. I know that it's unfair to judge people by their looks— tough luck. I encourage you to think about the company you want to work for. You should learn some- thing about that company, so that when an in- terviewer asks you, "Why do you want to work here?" you can have a more compelling answer than, "I heard you have an awesome vacation plan." Have a question ready that will give the im- pression that you've made this company your life's study, such as, "That was some feat you achieved by lowering your short- term debt in the third quarter, wasn't it?" Try to find out how to spell the names of people who are the targets of your emails and resumes. This will show that you have the attention to detail that employers value. Nothing turns off Mr. Carlson more than addressing him as Mrs. Rudolph. If you're lucky enough to get an interview, DO NOT ask the person who will be interviewing you how to get to their office, or if they will validate your parking. Show up on time for your interview. When businesses aren't too busy paying attention to details, they often relax by paying attention to time. When you show up on time for your interview, it says to the employer, "Look! I'm reliable!" When you show up late, it says to the employer, "I like to sleep in!" During the interview, do your best to convey the impression that you're interested, even eager. A number of products can help you here, my fa- vorite being No-Doz. Nod often, as if your interviewer is imparting some deep truth instead of going on and on and on about the workplace refrigerator policy. I know this runs counter to all human impulses, but if your interviewer has one of those things on the desk that has the suspended met- al balls that clack together, don't start clacking them. Think of good questions to ask that suggest you re- ally, really want this job, such as, "Does the company have rules against my coming in to work on weekends?" and, "Do any of your family mem- bers need a kidney?" To the graduates, I say, "Congratulations! Your future is ahead of you." And to Dean Smith, who invited me here today, I say, "Do you validate?" Onward! Some advice for graduates 96 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6

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