After four solid years in the workforce, I’m not the new kid on the block anymore.
When I first started my career I made a ton of mistakes, asked for a lot of help and sought out and took advantage of many opportunities. Now, I have a good handle on the ins and outs of the workplace, I’m great at my job and have developed a well-rounded skill set.
Although there is so much more to learn, now instead of being the one who’s always asking for advice, I’m the one who’s giving it.
This is strange because sometimes I don’t feel experienced enough to give advice. However, when I do offer my insights, I surprise myself with how much I know and feel happy that I can pass on some wisdom. As I start this shift from mentee to mentor, it’s got me thinking about what advice I would give my younger self.
I would probably tell myself to, ‘Take a break.’
In the months leading up to graduation, I was determined to get a job as fast as I could. So I didn’t rest after graduation and spent all my free time job hunting. Now with a full-time job, I don’t have the luxury of taking a break for more than a few consecutive days. If I could do it again, after graduation I would have traveled for a few months, spent more time with my family and taken more time to get in tune with what I wanted out of my career and life. Between college and career, I advise everyone to take a break for as long as it makes sense for you.
In the spirit of giving advice to the next wave of professionals, I asked some successful, up-and-coming professionals to share what they wished they knew when they first started out.
“In school, you’ve been trained to complete assigned tasks, whether it’s finishing homework or completing a project. However, in the workplace, the most successful people question the status quo by constantly thinking how things can be done differently, and they take initiative and rally the troops to do so. Act now and apologize later.”
Albert Cheng, Technology Manager, YouTube Sports – Google
“I wish I was told to network! I graduated when the economy was at its lowest and the job market was extremely competitive. I spent a year doing internships and continuously applying and interviewing for jobs and not getting anywhere. I had no idea how important it was to network because it was rarely, if ever, talked about in college. Once I made networking a top priority, everything fell into place and I landed my #dreamjob.”
Kristen Boyen, Employee Success Ops Administrator, Salesforce
“One thing I wish I knew when I first started out is how to be a better teammate. People have different interests, motivations and levels of experience and getting everyone to be pulling in the same direction can be surprisingly difficult at times. However, when a team can learn how to harness the talent individuals, great things can happen.”
Justin Ungson, Senior Associate, Berkeley Research Group, LLC
What’s something you wish you knew when you first started out in your career?