Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It’s Not About the Right Now

It is that time of year, when college graduates say goodbye to campus life and hello to the workplace. These young employees have a lot to offer - passion, enthusiasm and an in-depth knowledge of how to operate in a world always connected through the click of a mouse or touch of a finger. 

I am lucky to have several outstanding young folks on my team and they impress me daily. I do think, however, there is a bit of wisdom that those of us who have been out in the workforce for several years—or twenty—can impart to our younger colleagues. And so, I want to take the opportunity in the next few posts to offer some tips for those just starting out in their careers.

I have been fortunate enough to have a nephew with whom I am close. He is a few years out of college and since graduation, he has looked to me for advice and help navigating the workforce. Something I see with him as well as my younger team members is how difficult it is to handle the lack of instant gratification. I do believe in leaders providing feedback in real time but I see this not being sufficient for many millennials. It is the promotion they desire and typically within a very short time frame. 

I think this may be because my nephew and his friends have grown up in a world where many of their needs or desires can be met instantaneously with the click of an app or download. As a result, it can be hard for them to be patient or to take the long view. They often think something is wrong with their performance if they do not immediately receive a promotion or salary increase with each accomplishment.

I often explain to him when he comes to me frustrated with work, that the feedback and the recognition for a job well done will come. It might not come in the moment but if you stay true to showing great work ethic, it will come at one point or another.

It really is simple, the key to success is hard work and showing initiative. You don’t always need to be the smartest person in the room (many times, I certainly am not), but if you show up early, stay late, focus on what needs to get done and determine how you can contribute, you will succeed. Over time, your employer will notice your consistency and your effort. In fact, I am confident that come review time, you will see receive that reward and recognition for all your hard work.

At the end of the day, it is about the work you are doing and the career you are building. It’s a marathon and you are only in the first mile or two. Don’t get distracted by what you need now but rather stay focused on the journey ahead.

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