I have a confession to make. There have been times in my career, especially early on, when I wasn’t as poised and in control as I wanted to be.
LIKE THE TIME WHEN
- I ran to the bathroom and cried, overwhelmed by impossible deadlines at a fast-paced advertising agency while suffering from a fever and flu.
OR THE TIME WHEN
- I got completely chewed out by my boss for bringing too many brochures to a trade show (and subsequently found a corner to cry in).
OR THE TIMES WHEN
- I’ve had nervous breakdowns from working too hard and taking on too much.
Breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs.
As Americans, we suffer from the “cult of busy.” But when working late nights becomes the norm, it leads to stress, and the inevitable meltdown.
As one of the youngest people in the office, you’re more susceptible to unfair criticism and lack of respect. But when people treat you poorly, you need to stand up for yourself and do so with confidence
No job is perfect, but ask yourself – what’s wrong with this picture?
It’s amazing how adversity helps
you find your own strength,
truth and purpose.
When you’re out there searching for your first job opportunities, keep in mind:
Experience is more valuable than money will ever be.
Look for opportunities to do great work with great people. The money, title and prestige will come later.
More often than not, these jobs are found at smaller companies and organizations where employees are expected to wear many hats.
(That’s both a challenge and
Outside the office, reward your hard work with time, not things. Years from now when you have that big title, fat paycheck and house full of stuff, how rich will you really be?
You've got to make memories, not just money.
Want to take on a new role or responsibility? That’s great. Don’t be afraid if you’re not 100% qualified. If you have the interest and the drive, you’ll figure it out.
The Internet is an incredible resource of information and education. Professional associations and groups can connect you to others for support and advice.
I used to think if I kept my head down, worked hard and produced great work, it would naturally lead to reward and recognition.
The reality is, your boss and co-workers won't always be aware of what you’re contributing, nor take the time to thank you or recognize your work publicly.
When people casually say hello and “how are you?” let them know what you’re working on. You might even ask for their input on it.
Send the occasional email touting the results of a project to the 2-3 departments involved or impacted. The tone should be enthusiastic, not boastful. Be sure to recognize anyone who contributed to the project. Include relevant links and attachments.
Display some of your finished work and work-in-progress in your cubicle or workspace.
Use a whiteboard. Employees walking by will get a glimpse of what you’re up to and maybe even ask you about it.
It’s OK to toot your own horn. In fact, you should.
If I could go back in time and
talk to that young woman I’d say,
“Go ahead and cry. Let it out, it’s healthy, you’re human. But seek to understand what has led you here. Good.
Now take a deep breath, and get back out there!”