Love to laugh…at yourself.

You get to work early. You find the office without any issues. You even remembered to use that iron your mother kept nagging you to buy before moving into your new apartment. “I can do this!” A constant form of positive reinforcement you keep telling yourself during the first few weeks of transitioning into “the real world.” Counting those little wins and mitigating the embarrassing evidence that you are, in fact, fresh out of college is the main objective.

You successfully learn to operate the coffee machine, submit your reimbursements and timesheets before the due date, and you even set up your email signature. These are all good examples of things to be proud of your first few days.

But don’t get too ahead of yourself.

These wins also come with a healthy amount of typical “new hire” mishaps. Here is one of mine:

I was sitting with my project lead to discuss some personal objectives for the next 6 months. I was prepared with my reflections, interests, and short term goals. She was prepared with resources, information, and expectations for me during the project. We had a great conversation. I was professional, authentic, and honest. She was empathic, understanding, and extremely supportive. Overall, this was a really great experience to share a little more about who I am, and learn a little more about who she is.

At the end of our meeting, I stood up from my chair, shook her hand, and turned towards the door. With my chin held high and a smile from ear to ear, I started to move towards the conference room door. To my surprise, my managers’ computer charger was plugged into the wall and just happened to be about shin high. Blinded by my ambition, I tripped over the chord, lost my footing, and fell about as gracefully as the Tinman trying to limbo. I was terribly embarrassed. I was blushing, sweating, and cringing at my disbelief.

My project lead smiled and asked if I was alright as I got up, attempted to regain any ounce of pride remaining from my blunder, and continued back to my desk.

Man, that was embarrassing. This type of experience helped me learn a very crucial lesson.

We need to learn to laugh at ourselves. We need to state our faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings with a smile. It is a contagious example of self expression, optimism, and authentic vulnerability. As a result, this creates a great opportunity for relationships to grow. Lucky for us, Capgemini encourages all employees to be themselves. Capgemini wants each of us to bring our thoughts, experiences, and personality to the team, the client, and the community. Sometimes, and only sometimes, do these personal attributes come in the form of an embarrassing moment, mistake, or inevitable human error.

Let us learn to laugh at ourselves for the good, the bad, and the hopefully not too ugly mishaps that we will encounter early in our career.