Colman Collins is the author of HOW TO SUCCEED IN YOUR FIRST JOB. Colman wrote this book to help recently qualified graduates to navigate their way successfully from the world of college to the world of work. The book is based on his forty years experience, initially as a HR Director with two blue chip multinationals including Nortel Networks here in Galway and more recently as the owner and CEO of Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group, which also has an office in Galway.

This book is available in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Kenny’s Bookshop, University College Galway Bookshop and online through and amazon. This is the seventh in a series of eight articles based on Colman’s book.


This week’s topic is: Be Yourself


Be your own unique self.

No one in the world has the exact same combination of skills, personal qualities and attitudes that you have. It is vitally important that you honour and respect your uniqueness by putting your own personal stamp on your work.

Build on your unique strengths.

These strengths have served you well in your life to date, and they are something to build on in your new and exciting world of work. These strengths were the reason you were recruited by your employer, and that being the case your employer will want you to develop these strengths and learn to apply them in the work environment. While some employers look for a greater degree of conformity than others, none seek to subjugate employees individuality to the point where they are trying to create clones.

Avoid succumbing to a groupthink culture.

Thankfully most organisations are alert to the risks of creating a groupthink culture but if you do find yourself in an organisation which tends to favour a strong party line it is important that you speak your truth rather than just go along with theconsensus. I recommend that you only pick important issues to make a stand on less you be seen as a crank. If you consider a point to be critically important and you disagree with the consensus view then even though you are a newly qualified graduate you should honour yourself by clearlyoutlining your reasons for your point of view. Even if this is not agreed with you will usually be respected for asserting yourself especially if you present your views in a logical format. Obviously, if you frequently find yourself at loggerheads with your employer you may be in a company with a culture that you are not aligned with and you may find it necessary to look for an employer who will value your operational style.

Learn from others but do not attempt to imitate anyone else.

There is much to be learned from others in terms of developing particular skills and qualities but that is very different than trying to imitate anyone else. A colleague or a boss has their own unique combination of strengths that work for them. For you to slavishly adopt these qualities and seek to subjugate your own unique characteristics would be a serious mistake and one that would also do you a great disservice.

Don’t imitate others as this would be unsustainable.

Even if you were to attempt to imitate a very successful work colleague this would be unsustainable because in addition to having your own unique strengths you also have your own personal values and beliefs which must be honoured and respected. Imitation is not the way to do this.

Use the points in my book and in these articles selectively. 

There is much that is generic in my book but several points reflect my personal experiences, values and beliefs. Take what you consider to be useful from the generic material and adapt it to suit your own unique qualities, skills, attitudes, values and beliefs.

Note: In the course of my book and in these weekly articles I have outlined a series of do’s and don’ts about how you should conduct yourself at work. I believe each of these points has a considerable degree of merit but I would argue that this piece of advice would definitely be in my top three. Be your own unique self and be justifiably proud to be so.


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