My freshman year of college, I had two simultaneous internships and multiple part-time jobs. I woke up early, commuted back and forth from the suburbs into the city and usually got home late only to pass out and do it all over again.
The rest of my college years were pretty similar, packed with working and interning and leading student orgs. It was hectic, but I loved it because the experience I gained was invaluable. Even more than that, the mentors I met and learned from became my greatest asset.
I’ve probably received more useful and beneficial career advice from past bosses and supervisors than most young professionals. They’ve taught me how to assert myself, encouraged me to be ask questions and insert myself into project. Really shown me how to leverage my talents to go higher and higher.
But the best piece of career advice that I think I’ve ever received occurred to me while reading this article recently. The author, Felicia, puts it brilliantly:
Yet, there’s something to be said for tenure, for having the years, for enduring experience and learning from it and then having the perspective that only time and distance brings to bear on new situations. – Felicia Sullivan
And just like that, it all made sense. No one has ever stressed the importance to me of showing the value of your position simply by doing well and being content in your position. Paying your dues is a common sentiment, but enjoying the state your in, soaking in those experiences, and taking the time and vantage to observe what’s happening around you is equally as important.
It shouldn’t necessarily be a “grin and bare it, until you’re promoted” situation.
Getting hired right after graduating college was a blessing, but entering a workspace where learning, close observation, mentorship and ambition are nurtured and celebrated is even more of a blessing.
Because of some changes at work, I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to prove that I can step up, take on more and do it all. When in reality, this is an opportunity for me to really explore the boundaries of my position, become more helpful and embrace mentors like never before.
Showing your value doesn’t always mean explicitly stating how ready you are for more, but rather about showing how well you work with what you have. Time, dedication and a job well done are often rewarded just as soon and as well as the constant hustle, grit and grind.
Everyday shouldn’t feel like a mad sprint to the top of the ladder. You may get there and find you climbed too soon anyway. Combine your work ethic with your respect for those who came before you, and you’ll go far.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten? And to mix things up, how about the worst?! Excited to hear your comments!