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Mom Was Right After All

By Martin Lieberman

So it turns out mom really does know a thing or two. All the advice she gave you again and again is coming in handy, even in your professional life. We decided to take a moment to look at mom's advice in a new light.

Some of the lessons we learned as kids are just as instructive today as they were on the playground.

Maybe your mom worked while you were growing up, maybe she didn't. But it turns out that she knows a lot more about succeeding on the job than most of us give her credit for. Some of the lessons we learned as kids are just as instructive today as they were on the playground.

Don't work too hard
You won't get anywhere without making the effort, but too much work will burn you out, just like mom said. In fact, according to a study published by the American Psychosomatic Society, taking a vacation each year can prolong your life expectancy. Compared with those who rarely take vacations, middle aged men in high-stress jobs who take annual breaks are 21 percent less likely to die within nine years, and 32 percent less likely to develop heart disease.

Eat right
"What your mom told you about eating three square meals every day holds true," says Janet Helm, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Helm says it's also a good idea to snack on fruits and vegetables during the day to keep your energy level up. And remember to start the day off right with a good breakfast: "You won't have the energy to get through a busy schedule if you're not fueling up early in the morning."

Get plenty of rest
Yes, you do need seven hours of sleep a night to truly be productive and healthy. A recent study performed at the University of California at San Diego shows that people who do not get necessary amounts of sleep find that their on-the-job performance suffers. And while your brain can make up for the sleep deficiency for a day, the effects of too little sleep will catch up with you.

If you don't have anything nice to say
you shouldn't say anything at all. It was good advice in kindergarten and it's good advice now. Keeping a positive attitude in the workplace is essential. "There are politics in every workplace," says Doug Woody, an assistant professor of social psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. The trick to avoiding a testy situation, Woody says, is to be considerate of those around you and be aware of competing interests.

Don't burn your bridges
In today's job market, in which 80 percent of all jobs are filled through networking, anyone can be a good professional contact. Whether you're at an alumni event or an information interview, make good impressions and maintain your contacts. Even when you decide to leave a job, exit on a positive note. You never know when you'll need a reference!

Those are only some of the wise pieces of advice your mother probably gave you. Here, for better or for worse, are other words of wisdom that are worth repeating...again.

  • Always take the path that gives you two choices. If the first one doesn't work out, you've got an alternative.
  • If somebody doesn't like you...tough noogies for them.
  • Don't plan on marrying into money, plan on making your own.
  • Say "yes," not "yeah."
  • If you don't respect your boss, you should find another job.
  • Don't use two words if one will work fine.
  • You don't have to be the smartest kid to get ahead. Hard work always pays off.
  • Never charge anything on a credit card that you can't pay for then and there.
  • Do what's right, not easy.
  • There's no such thing as a free lunch.
  • There are always going to be people that you don't get along with - the secret is not letting them get to you.
  • Find something you enjoy doing and follow that; money isn't the thing you should get a job for.
  • Believe in yourself and others will too.
  • Get to know the janitors of the buildings where you work; you never know when you might get locked out.
  • Learn to put yourself first.
  • You can do anything you want, if you set your mind to it.

And, of course...

  • Don't walk out of the house looking like a schlep.

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