“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
Picture this – a young girl, fresh out of college with a Bachelor’s degree in hand questioning what happens next and what exactly she wants to do with the rest of her life. That was me one year ago. Scared to death, driving myself and everyone around me crazy worrying about the future, but I’m here to tell you IT’S OKAY. Things will happen when they’re supposed to, so in the meantime apply for anything and everything that interests you to try and figure out what you’re really interested in and passionate about. Beginning a new job can be scary and overwhelming, but it’s also exciting and gratifying! You’ve worked hard to earn the position so don’t stop growing; ask questions, make mistakes (but of course learn from them), and also understand this – I am nowhere near experienced enough to give my expert advice, but I will share with you what I’ve learned thus far in my short career!
Connect. Building an online presence is crucial to professional development. For me personally, if it weren’t for Facebook I would not have found my job. I can’t stress enough how important it is to join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Get to know people. Networking can be a scary thing, but it’s something that you won’t regret in the long run. Follow people who have the job you want. Research how they got to where they are today, and if you’re feeling bold, reach out to them! What can it hurt? Absolutely nothing!
Find a mentor. This one goes hand in hand with connecting. Find someone you look up to, maybe someone you find interesting or who is successful in the same career field that you’re interested in. This person may be someone you know personally or even someone you admire from afar. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about how they got started. Most people would be more than willing to pass along their story if they feel it could help you. Ask about their daily routine. I’ve found that the way a person plans out their day, including how they wake up to what they eat for breakfast, even what hobbies they fill their time with, can be really interesting!
Learn. Never stop learning. Learn about your industry. Learn about your company. Learn about the customers you serve. Learn the habits of successful individuals. It’s also important to learn about yourself during this time. Learn your own habits. What makes you tick? What habits help you perform at your highest ability? This is a time to really figure out what you want in life. Sure, you don’t have to have everything figured out right away, but this time is all about discovery.
Be patient. I feel like this is one of the most important lessons that anyone starting a new job. Patience is a quality that develops over time and we may not find it right away. It’s still a work in progress for me, not only in my career, but in my personal life as well. Opportunities or milestones may not happen exactly when you want or expect them to, but learning to take life’s ebbs and flows in stride is a sign of patience.