The other straight A: Adaptability (part 3)

In business environments, the same motto applies. Fedex was originally a company that specialized in envelopes and office supplies, providing them to business customers and transporting these materials from one place to another. After realizing that the industry is changing and their business model may not be the most profitable type of business, they diversified their services and became the logistics company we know today. Again, after some acquisitions, it has also become a leading office supply and printing services company as the modern Fedex we are familiar with.

Continuing the thought in the previous two posts, I will now focus on the transformation that each of the 6 aspects resulted in. The same 6 aspects I introduced in the previous posts will be used to structure these posts, lay out specific examples for each aspect, and demonstrate the end result in the transformation.

PRESENTATION
Awareness of the image you present –> Dressing for work — The notion that what you are wearing is a way to communicate yourself to the world is something I learned in my later years in college. In the first years, it was all about what was trendy, no matter how tacky, revealing or in bad taste a piece of clothing was. I soon learned that the way you dress is a way to communicate who you are to others. People respond to you differently, especially those you’ve only recently encountered, depending on how you present yourself. Sure, clothing is a small part of this presentation (the other elements are your tone of voice, your choice of words, eye contact, etc.), but it is still a powerful form of non-verbal communication.

ABILITY
Writing assignments –> Writing for the business world I wrote for many different outlets in college, but stayed mostly in the arts and humanities field. Most of these outlets landed on my lap by sheer credentials; I was an English major which means I can write. The world of business is a whole different scenario, and even if I didn’t have much experience writing for business at first, I sought ways to write in a business context. I assessed my skills and what knowledge I had thus far, and even if I had no idea how to write for business, I knew that I can write. So write I did. After a while, I knew I need some formal training to strengthen my skillset and develop my knowledge, and I even enrolled in a program in the summer of 2009 to arm myself with the business training I needed. I had to shift my focus, by seeking the opportunities, and learning what skills and knowledge overlap between my experience and what I am seeking, and how I can leverage those familiar skills toward the new opportunity.

DEPENDABILITY
Acing midterms and finals –> Achieving results College is all about deadlines and exams– time lines and assessments. The real world works the same way. I developed my dependability by always submitting things on time, and never being late for an important event like a midterm or final. I also learned that when I promise something, it must be delivered. Yet a lot of times, obstacles happen and things don’t get done as expected, so I’ve become aware of underpromising but overdelivering. I won’t promise that I can complete a specific project if its completion is dependent upon external factors over which I have little control (such as a teammate’s contribution, contingent tasks, etc). Instead, I communicate the progress, deliver what I can, legitimately, and ask for extensions if utmost necessary.

MOTIVATION
Research –> Being resourceful to get things done Research may seem like an anachronistic activity reserved only for those who live in the brick walls of academia, but research actually taught me how to make things happen. I’ve encountered lots of essay questions and other assignments that seemed unanswerable. But the book is not available.. I can’t find evidence that challenges this idea.. this phenomenon will never happen realistically.. These are actually excuses, and won’t answer the question or challenge. The point of research is to seek the answer, and do what is necessary to find it. Since research is very methodological, like a science, it furthered develop my project management skills.

ATTITUDE
Leadership –> Learning how to take direction My college years were one of the best times in my life, because it taught me more than just the academics. It showed me an environment where people were smart, worked hard and made great contributions to their peers. It set the foundation for the next few years and introduced the idea of being a well-rounded person. Leadership was one of those experiences I took from college. It was about leading my peers to achieve a goal and bring us recognition, but at the end of the day, it was also about taking direction and serving the university as a whole. It was about working with levels of hierarchy and bureaucracy, and setting an example to younger students. Most of all, it’s about inspiring the next classes to develop the leaders in themselves and further the goals of the club or organization for years to come.

NETWORK
Joining organizations –> developing professional connections Planning is a big part of college. In order to achieve your goals, you must be strategic. You have to tweak opportunities in such ways that will work for your purposes. For example, I wanted to immerse myself in an international environments, not just through writing, but in being involved with academic and cultural learning in an international context. I joined an undergraduate organization at UCLA called International Institute Student Association, and served as a leader in the club. Next, I wanted to have real writing experience with international topics, and created an independent research class with my professor to explore tourism and its effect on developing countries. I positioned myself in places where I can accumulate my skills in a specific topic of interest, and developed professional connections that I can carry with me even after college.

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