From one millennial to another: here’s how to avoid getting overwhelmed by the sudden change and come out #winning.
Throughout life, we go through many transitions, with one of the most notable being the transition from school to the workplace. However, life doesn’t provide us with a clear set of rules or guidelines to follow when making any of these transitions.
So how do we do it?
As someone who has jumped through the school/work transition before, you’d think I would be good at it by now. Well, guess again. I don’t think transitioning is something we can ever be good at, but we can improve and adjust our expectations and processes to fit our situation.
After graduating from Ryerson with a bachelor’s degree when I was 22 I had no idea what I was going to do. I started working at a startup, while also developing my writing portfolio and building up other skills, such as communication and project management.
Truth be told, the transition wasn’t easy.
I don’t think transitioning is something we can ever be good at, but we can improve and adjust our expectations and processes to fit our current needs.
I loved what I was doing, but I felt a pull to try something different. I decided to go back to school, this time for my master’s degree. It seemed easy enough. My master’s program was located in the same building as the startup and my hours were flexible. Unfortunately, my job meant I had to build my schedule around meeting clients, which didn’t mesh well with my school schedule. I soon found myself on a school-only path.
But unlike my first transition, I had a refined focus this time around, and a better understanding of how I wanted to spend my time.
It was a big leap, but I know it was the right one. Going back to school provided me with the opportunity to build a passion project called Studio Bud. It convinced me to deviate from my initial plans of going into the publishing industry. It’s also what led me to my current transition – from school to a full-time corporate role.
This is my advice for how to turn a potentially overwhelming transition into a fun and exciting next step:
Don’t expect a balance.
Two years ago, I attended a seminar where the speaker said work-life balance was a myth. The reality was a work-life rhythm. There will never be a clear 50/50 between your personal and professional life. Some weeks will be really busy, while others will be fairly slow. However, the best thing you can do is take the experience day-by-day and adjust your expectations to fit the situation you are currently in. The longer you’re in a certain role, the easier it is to look ahead and estimate what a specific time period will be like. Until then, sit tight and roll with the punches. But don’t get upset if you can’t make Wednesday night happy hour every week.
It’s very easy to fall into your comfort zone and never want to leave. We’ve all done this, both in our personal and professional lives. Needless to say, it’s also a dangerous place to be. By never leaving your comfort zone, you’re limiting your chances to grow. In turn, this can inhibit your chances at that upcoming promotion. Make sure you take the chance to step out of your comfort zone and explore all possibilities, strengthen your skills, and build relationships. You never know what the outcome will be!
You may be the youngest one there (but you can still be the best).
Depending on where you’re employed, generational differences are fairly common. You probably won’t think the same as your colleagues who are twice your age, but you don’t have to. Your ability to bring new breadth and perspective to commonplace scenarios is part of the reason you’re there. Still, you might need to feel out the space before you start proposing any radical changes. You don’t have to be a tight-lipped yes man, but patience is an asset.
You’re not married to your job.
Regardless of your position in life, never forget: you’re not married to your job. If you love it, perfect! Work hard at what you do, build your network, and do what you can to reach the top of your career path. However, if you don’t, then change your path. Explore your options. It’s far from easy, but it’s more than doable. Prioritize your career happiness.
Never stop networking.
Networking is mandatory for the success of your career. Your network expands greatly depending on the number of people you know, but also by the variety of people you know. Establishing some deep-seated relationships can go a long way. You don’t have to be the most popular person at the office, but make an effort to get to know your co-workers and superiors. Share ideas. Demonstrate your knowledge. Utilize your LinkedIn network to the best of your ability and don’t ignore the six degrees of separation. You never know where life will take you, but know that you’re responsible for most of it.