In the late 2000′s I was grasping for straws. I had no idea where my career was going to take me and had no idea what I was going to do after I walked across the stage at University. Looking back, I can remember submitting my resume into every job bank and receiving no responses from any company. I sent cover letters to agency after agency and no one would touch me.
I thought my University degree was a waste. I thought I was going to be another statistic. I thought I was going to live in my parents basement for the rest of my life. It was terrifying.
After taking a risk and competing in a business/fellowship competition that was never meant for undergrad students, things started to look up. I landed a dream job working at the CBC implementing social media strategies and training both reporters and journalists. It was a blast. From there, I decided I was going to take another risk and started my own advertising company. The rest is history.
Looking back over the last few years, lots of things have changed. Social media is no longer just a buzz word in the office. The job market is becoming more and more competitive and the importance of differentiating yourself is at an all-time high. Report after report is expressing that young people are doomed. That our generation is stuck and will be unable to shake free until the baby boomer generation begins retiring at a rapid rate. I’m of the belief that it’s time to take responsibility and control of our own destiny. Here are a few things that every young professional could stop doing today and finally start paving their own path:
Stop Expecting The Rules To Change
A lot of young people have an expectation that organizations need to change for us. I’m 100% on board with the idea of being flexible with requirements and rules to bring in new talent that will contribute to an organizations success but the key word there is contribute. If this is your first job or your first time with experience in a specific industry, you may want to earn your stripes first.
Most organizations are still built on the age old concept of going into an office every day. Yet, most of Generation Y has already gone on record to express that they’d be willing to take 10% less pay for the chance to work at home. If this is something you want, it’s not going to happen over night. You’ll first need to show your boss that you can work from home and then demonstrate that you can work from home while producing serious results. It’s not enough to expect the rules to change, you need to take the steps to change them.
Stop Worrying About The Past
Did your last employer tell you that you weren’t qualified to do specific tasks? Did your last employer make you feel as if you weren’t experienced enough for certain responsibilities? Who cares! That’s then, this is now. Worry about today. Worry about that timeline. Worry about your job review. Worry about standing still instead of moving forward.
Too many young professionals spend hours on top of hours worrying about their past failures and even successes. I’m here to tell you that what’s done is done. Worrying about the past will do nothing but slow you down in the future. Look ahead and move towards your goals.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s human nature to look at what other people are doing and then compare your situation to theirs. It’s almost impossible to stop that entirely but you can definitely stop obsessing over it. Obsessing over someone else’s success is an easy way to slip into depression and unhappiness. You also need to remember that we live in a world that is very much painted through the lens of tweets and newsfeeds. Outside of your closest friends and family members, people intentionally control what you see and know about them. More times than not, you’re simply comparing your own blooper reel with their highlights.
Stop Worrying About Vanity Metrics
Social media is built on vanity metrics. Friends, connections, followers and likes have become an addiction for social media users. People are willing to do the oddest things for a handful of likes on their Facebook status or views on their latest Vine. It’s easy to quickly establish a false sense of entitlement or importance from these interactions.
You are not your likes on Instagram. You are not your followers on Twitter. You are not your connections on LinkedIn.
You are your story. You are your reputation. You are what you create.
Here are 14 other things that every young professional should know: