My newly graduated daughter is starting a new job soon, and I’m trying to learn the protocol. What, I wonder, is MY ROLE in this exciting milestone? It didn’t come in the rule book, and the mommy bloggers are unusually silent on the topic.

Evidently, there is no “take your mom to work day” in America. (Who do I talk to about this?) It’s almost as if someone thinks our work is done and we should let our young adults be in control of their own lives when they’re able to support themselves. Crazy talk, I tell you.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a hard time zipping my lip as people walk out my door. I feel compelled to give send-off instructions. Going away gifts, I prefer to call them.

It’s a reflex, you know. I want to make sure my children show up to their jobs with everything they need: the right look, the right attitude and the right just-in-case supplies. But most important, I want them to go armed with wisdom that helps them make the most of every situation.

Here are 13 tips to start with.

  1. Choose your outlook.
    Just like you select what you’ll wear, you can decide to be eager, upbeat, open and humble. You can opt for optimism, patience and trust.
  2. Learn to delegate.
    This is tricky when you’re the new kid, but the time will come soon when you must find how to get things done without doing them yourself.
  3. Make your boss look good, as long as it doesn’t make you look bad.
  4. Choose your words carefully.
    Especially on the Internet.
  5. Proofread, spellcheck, and double check the autocorrect.
    Preferably before you hit “send.”
  6. When you don’t know what a word means, look it up.
    Preferably, before you use it in a presentation.
  7. When you don’t know how to pronounce a word, look it up.
    (No, not on your phone in the middle of a meeting.)

    high heel shoe illustration

  8. If you know how to sell, you’ll always have a job.
    Persuading others to go your way and buy your ideas is the way to add value to any enterprise.
  9. Don’t sell yourself short.
    Try the things you don’t think you can do. Just because you’ve never done something doesn’t mean you aren’t the best person to lead it. The work world rewards those who step up and believe in themselves.
  10. The best way to glow is to throw the spotlight on someone else.
    You’ll see people all around you jockeying to get credit for work and ideas. But the magic is in the opposite approach. Giving others recognition not only makes you a person people want to work with, it makes you feel warm and lit up inside.
  11. The best way to get something done is to DO IT.
    Sure, plan it, talk about it, schedule it, committee it. But maybe it’s better to just get started.
  12. Check your paycheck.
    Make sure you know what you are being paid and what is being taken out.
  13. Managing yourself is the first management job you will have. Do it well, and life will be filled with promotions.

And that’s all we’re going for, isn’t it? We just want the people we love to have futures filled with opportunity, happiness and success. (And we also kind of want to be along for the ride.)

laundry or die page 270 always leave the room

Excerpted from the book Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening by Becky Blades. For 260 more pieces of motherly advice, view the book here.

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do your laundry or die alone author becky blades

Becky Blades, Author of Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone, and contributor to Huffington Post,, Scary Mommy, and Grown & Flown.