May 20, 2014


If she were 22 today, Arianna Huffington would have chilled out more than she did the first time.

In college, just before I embarked on a career as a writer, I wish I had known that there would be no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and my ability to do good work. I wish I could go back and tell myself, “Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging and renewing yourself.” That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.

The Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief’s piece of advice is one of more than 80 shared by LinkedIn Influncers called “If I were 22.”

The project launched Tuesday and includes advice from many successful people, including a handful of journalists. Here’s a little of their advice to their younger selves.

Emily Chang, Host of “Bloomberg West”: Choose the job over more school

It was a tough decision but I ended up at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and never looked back once. I instantly realized I was learning much more about how to be a journalist working real stories in the real world, than I would be in a classroom. My first week on the assignment desk at MSNBC, 9 miners were trapped in a Pennsylvania coal mine. I watched the news break and the newsroom spring into action. I helped them bring the story to air. When a sniper started shooting people in Washington DC, I flew down to assist the team in the field. If I didn’t have this opportunity, I’m sure going to graduate school wouldn’t have hurt, but in this field hands-on experience is critical. And just getting your foot in the door is one of the hardest parts.

Bethany McLean, journalist: Show up

Just show up — on time. It’s not a mark of power or social superiority to leave someone else waiting. It’s rude. It’s also a mark of your inability to get it together. And it matters. I still marvel at the success I’ve had in journalism. I think a good chunk of it is for a very prosaic reason: I show up, and I show up on time. I turn in work on time. I’m almost never late, professionally or socially. (To a fault — I’ve been known to show up at dinner parties exactly when they’re supposed to start, sometimes to the horror of the hosts.) Indeed, the part about just showing up translates to your personal life too, and I regret that it hasn’t always been a strength of mine. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that the fact that I was so appreciative when people showed up for my things probably meant that they were appreciative when I showed up for theirs. If you possibly can, get on that plane for your friend’s big day.

Tom Keene, Editor-at-Large at Bloomberg Television & Radio: Be interested like Norman Bukofzer, Ritz Carlton New York bartender

Norman’s ability to listen, cajole, listen again and make a room comfortable is the first-order skill for the recent graduate. Listen. Did you note how I used the word listen there twice? Norman knows how to listen. It is the acquired skill for the aspiring graduate. Move your marginal listening skill forward for future happiness and stock-option success.

So Onward! Passion. Follow your dream. Lean In? Forget it. Lean Norman. Discuss.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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