Is gratitude lost in todays society, never to be found again? Am I jaded in thinking that younger professionals want things handed to them without first working for it? It would seem the self-worth of millennials is much higher than others perceive it to be. Is this anyone else’s experience?

I want to share a few pieces of advice for young professionals from an old 38 year old.

  1. See a need and fill it. Don’t wait for your boss or work buddy to ask for help, offer. If they need something and you are able to help, then do it. Think of others before yourself. This doesn’t mean you become someones doormat, it means you make yourself irreplaceable. A well-rounded professional is self-aware and observant of those around them.
  2. Say thanks. I don’t care if it is the minuscule thing, say thank you. A server takes you order, say thank you. You are praised by a colleague, boss or whomever – say thank you. Those two words are so powerful and should be the most used in your vocabulary.
  3. Self-reflect. Recognize and acknowledge the opportunities that have been afforded to you. It is so hard as human beings to not take things for granted. Some of the worst bosses I ever had, taught me the most valuable professional lessons. Really reflect on where you are in your career, the culture you exist in and the other individuals around you. Being reflective and thoughtful can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
  4. Learn by example. Who in your company or professional circle do you admire or wish to emulate? What has been their career path? Find out their story, the hard work they put in to get where they are and then learn from it.
  5. Be patient. You will not know everything overnight and you are not going to be a leader by saying you are. That isn’t how it works, wouldn’t that be nice if it was? I have spent the last 10 years of my life growing 834 and I failed a lot and pretty spectacularly, if I do say so myself. Before 834 I had 2 great jobs and 2 really terrible jobs. I learned from both and better understood my capabilities and weaknesses.

What is most important for young professionals is perspective. Your first job out of college is your opportunity to prove yourself and work your ass off. You will not be handed anything, you will not be coddled and there will not be “safe places” where you can feel feelings.

Regardless of how great you think you are, it isn’t your opinion of yourself that matters. It is how other professionals and management see you and that, is completely up to you.

 

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