Tag Archives: Gen Y

Hold On: One Day You Will Be Doing What You Love

9 Aug

How many of you know someone who is unhappy with their job? I know a lot of people who feel this way, and because of the economy I am sure you do too. When you ask these people why they don’t like their jobs, what do they tell you? If you are asking someone from Gen Y they are probably going to tell you that they don’t like their job because they aren’t doing something they LOVE. Am I right?

Well, for those of you out there who feel that you are stuck at a boring job doing something you hate and fear that this will be your life, I am here to tell you that if you hold on, get the experience you need, and move up the career ladder you will be closer to the job of your dreams than you think.

Here is one of my favorite stories about how the job you hate doesn’t have to be your last job.

Take Emily Giffin, my favorite author (yes, I LOVE chick-lit books). Emily went to law school because she felt like she needed to get a “real” job before taking a stab at becoming a fiction writer. Does she regret going to law school? No. But she didn’t like the practice of law one bit. In fact, here is what Emily has to say: “I loathed the actual practice of law—at least the big firm culture. And I discovered that misery can be quite motivating. So very early on, I devised a plan to pay off my law school loans and then write full-time. Meanwhile, I began writing a young adult novel in my free time (and sometimes while at work!). Four years later, my loans were paid off and my book was completed. I was able to land an agent, but over the next several months, I received a dozen rejection letters from publishers. I seriously contemplated giving up and keeping my nose to the legal grindstone, but instead, I quit my job, moved to London and decided to try again. It was then and there that I began writing Something Borrowed.” Now, years later, Emily has 6 New York Times Bestselling novels, many loyal Facebook followers, and never has to step foot in a courtroom.

So, if you are stuck working at a job that you loathe, what can you do to make your time there worth while and make sure you don’t drive yourself crazy?

BUILD PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

If you build relationships with the people in your office you won’t feel so alone. Now, I would be very careful discussing your feelings about your job with these people, because you would never want these feelings to get back to your boss. But there is no harm in being friends with your co-workers and going to lunch with them. Heck, these relationships could eventually lead to a job that you will LOVE. As my mom always told me – its not what you know, its who you know.

GET INVOLVED

Remember, if you are one of those people trying to move up and on to something better, getting involved in tasks beyond your skill level will help you build your resume and enhance your skills. This could be something that you work on with someone else, or it could purely be a project to help the company as a whole run more smoothly, operate more efficiently, or strive to solve some of the problems that co-workers have been complaining about. The more you get involved in than just those tasks that make up your job description the more you will grow professionally – and that never hurts.

MAKE SURE THAT THE JOB YOU WANT IS REALLY WHAT YOU THINK IT IS

It is one thing to think that being something sounds cool, but it is another thing to actually experience it. Take Emily for example. She went to law school, loved it, and then ended up hating the practice of law. She never would have known that had she not ventured into legal practice out of law school. So, for those of you who think that you want to venture into a certain type of job, make sure that the job really is what you think it is. How do you do this? Get a mentor that works in the field and ask them if you can follow them for a day, two days, or a week. Being able to see what they do on a daily basis will give you some insight into whether or not you will really enjoy that job.

HOLD ON – THE END IS NEAR

In the end, we all can’t be doing what we love right away. Getting to the top and getting where we want takes time and patience. So, while you are building relationships, building your skills, and making sure that your dream job is the right job for you – hold on. Eventually you will end up where you are supposed to.

How to Conquer Your First Day on the Job

8 Feb

So, you landed your first professional job out of school? You are probably feeling a mix of emotions – relieved, excited, and nervous as hell. My first piece of advice is to be PATIENT. Going in to this new job you should know that the first day will not be jam-packed and as exciting as ever, and you will not get the biggest assignment of your life right off the bat. All of that will come with time. A quote that I came upon and absolutely love is in the book Effective Immediately: How to Fit in, Stand Out, and Move Up At Your First Real Job and is as follows:

To move up, you must get noticed.

To get noticed, you must attract attention.

To attract attention, you must be distinctive.

To be distinctive, you must be known for results.

I love this quote because it embodies everything that most of us need to be, but are not – patient. When we all enter the workforce, especially us Gen Y folks, we feel as if we deserve certain positions and treatment. Yes, I know some Gen Yers may get mad about me saying that, but it is true. I, myself, have thought, “Ugh, why am I having to copy papers and answer phones when I went to law school?” While you may feel like that from time to time when you find yourself doing “bitch work,” try to remind yourself to be patient. Nothing good comes easily and everything must be earned. That is exactly why I love this quote – it says to us that we cannot gain everything we need to be successful simply by going to school or being one thing. We need to be all things.

To be all things you need to get through that first day. Every first day on the job starts out with the new hire filling out the various forms of paperwork they slide across your desk. While this may seem boring and tedious, remember that because it is your first day you WILL be judged and watched closely. Because you will likely not be performing any serious work that day, you will be judged on the following:

What you are wearing

Whether you showed up on time

How others perceive you when they meet you

What personal items you put in your office

Whether you seem excited and ready for the job

Everyone’s goal on the first day should be to IMPRESS. We all know that shaking that first bad impression of people is hard, so make sure that people leave with good thoughts in their mind after they meet you. Here are some tips to leave good lasting impressions.

Arrive Early.

Remember the saying “If you arrive early you are on time, if you arrive on time you are late, and if you are late don’t even bother coming?” I do, and I think it is VERY important to follow for your first day on the job. Now, if there is some devastating accident and the entire highway is shut down, don’t literally not show up. Take that phrase less literally and try to apply it figuratively. If you arrive early you will be sending off the impression that you are punctual and ready to get to work, if you are on time it shows that you are not as punctual and not as excited, and if you are late that is a MAJOR red flag. I suggest that if you are starting a new job at a location you have never been to before, make the drive a few days before you start so you get used to the route. If there is traffic on that route in the mornings then make sure to get up extra early so you are not rushed around and flustered when that day comes.

Look Professional.

Another saying that I always try to live by is to “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Now I know that some of you may land yourself a job in a business casual or even casual environment, but that shouldn’t matter. For every first day I am of the opinion that you need to show up in your best suit, cutest accessories, and your best pair of heels. Wait it out a few days before you decide to change you dress style to see what everyone else wears to work. Remember, if you are in a leadership position you should never show up to work looking more casual than those who work below you. 

Introduce Yourself.

As the quote says, if you want to get noticed, you have to attract attention. What better way to get noticed than to properly introduce yourself to everyone the day you start. For me this is usually a difficult task as I am a little more on the shy side, but I always try to push this to the side. Making sure that everyone knows who you are, what your name is, and how you can help them is important. The only way you are going to move up in your career is if people know what your name is and give you work. Just as I said above, a lot of Gen Yers assume that because they are hired and have a great degree that everyone should know who they are – but they are dead wrong! If you are hired into a large enough company some of the people already working there may not even know that you were hired. All you have to do is go up to their office, lightly knock on their door, extend your hand, and say, “Hi, my name is [INSERT NAME], the new [POSITION].” From there the conversation should flow. Be prepared to talk about your schooling, your background, and your job history. The hardest part about introducing myself to people is remembering their name, so try to take something away from every introduction that can help you remember their name in the future. 

Stay Late.

I don’t care if they didn’t give you any work and you are staring at a blank computer screen – stay later than your boss. This tip I learned from my husband, who is an extremely hard worker. I am usually the type of worker to leave when I am done working, unless I am done working at 2 pm, but he stays until his boss leaves. Trust me when I say this, when you arrive earlier and stay later than most people everyone takes notice. Because this has been so successful for him I have taken this on as my new mantra – stay later than my boss. Not only does this show them that you are a hard worker, but it shows them that you are dedicated. What better way to get started at your new job than by staying late your first day?

Overall, Be Confident.

We all know how nerve-racking first days can be. Regardless of how nervous you are, remember that they hired you because they thought YOU were the best fit for the position. While first days can always be intimidating, try to act as confident as you can without looking or sounding cocky or arrogant. Good luck!!

Why Are Gen Yers Always Unhappy?

18 Jan

Image from dealerrefresh.com

Why does it always seem that my Gen Y friends either don’t have jobs or are completely unhappy in their current job? Yes, I know the economy is bad, but is it really that bad that it takes you over a year to find a job? Any job? I doubt it. Gen Y is the fastest growing group in the workforce, so why are there so many unemployed?

I recently spoke to a friend about her career prospects. She told me that she had recently quit a decent job because she was “unhappy” when she was there. My first reaction was to ask her why she would quit a job without another one lined up (I have never understood why people think that is ok to do). She proceeded to tell me that she would rather be jobless than be unhappy. When I asked her by what she meant when she said that she was “unhappy” she told me that she was bored, unmotivated, and unstimulated. She was bored because she wasn’t being given enough work, but when I asked I discovered that she hadn’t really asked to be given more work. She was unmotivated because she didn’t like the type of work she was doing. It was too “easy” and not “challenging enough.” Again, she never asked for harder, more challenging work assignments. She was unstimulated because she wasn’t getting work that she was excited about, and as you can probably guess, she never asked for more exciting work. “How can you expect to get better assignments when you don’t ask?” I asked her. “They should know,” was her answer.

My friend then told me that she had applied for unemployment, was getting about $400 a week (WHAT!) and was looking for a new job. Now, I have never been unemployed so I was a little shocked to hear how much money she was receiving per week, but to top it off she told me that she received a job offer for a mediocre company but declined it because it wasn’t what she wanted to be doing with her life. After hanging up the phone with my friend I started thinking about what it truly meant to be “happy” at work. If you asked some people happiness would be a steady paycheck, but to my friend it means being excited every day that you go to work. This made me wonder, is anyone out there “happy” all of the time? Is anyone out there absolutely excited about everything they do at work? Maybe actors, but my guess is that there are times in everyone’s career where they are bored, unmotivated, and unstimulated.

In thinking about happiness at work I thought about how people used to spend their entire careers at one particular job. We have all heard of the grandpa that spent his life working at a factory, or a car dealership, or in the family business, haven’t we? It seems that back in the day people didn’t jump from career to career. Rather, they stayed with the one position that they were lucky enough to get straight out of school. In thinking about these types of people I wondered if they were happy with their job the entire time that they worked there. I ultimately came to the conclusion that while they could have been moderately happy with their work environment or the people they worked with, if they weren’t moving up the career ladder they probably felt as my friend felt at her last job – unmotivated. So what made those people stick it out?  Why have things changed so much for those in Gen Y making it ok to jump from career to career and go for months at a time without working?

Some people would argue that the young folks in Gen Y jump from career to career because they feel “entitled.” My first gut reaction is to argue against this, but I am starting to think that maybe this is true (of course not for all Gen Yers). Maybe the Gen Yers have had it too easy in life, which has in turn made them think that it is ok to wait it out in search of the perfect career.  Maybe society has embedded this idea in their heads that the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate life goal, and anything that interferes with such pursuit be damned. 

While I love my dear friend, I am worried that she will spend her entire career looking for the “right” job. What would that mean for the economy? While I am no economic expert, I tend to think that those who jump from one job to another or who leave one job and remain on unemployment for a year (or more!) are digging themselves and the economy into a bigger hole. Ask yourself this, what employer wants to hire someone who has been out of the workforce for a year? Maybe some do, but to me being out of work for a year either means you don’t have any skills that people want, you are not a likeable person, or you are extremely picky and probably difficult to work with.

Sure, I quit my last job because I felt like I wasn’t growing as much as I should be and I wasn’t always being challenged. Maybe that is a Gen Y thing to think about, but at least I didn’t quit my job without another lined up. In fact I never even missed a pay period. I do think that happiness in one’s career and life are important, but I think those Gen Yers who are sitting at home just waiting for the right opportunity to fall into their lap are missing the big picture. The first job you hold is not going to be the last. No one ever said that your first job would be your most stimulating either. If Gen Yers keep sitting around waiting for something to come to them they are not going to be able to have a house, a car, or a family.

Do you know a Gen Yer who is sitting around waiting for the “perfect” job?