Like any new beginning, stepping into a new job as a young professional can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s into a new career in the fast-paced marketing industry. This is Part 2 of the 8 fundamental steps that I used to help conquer my own scary start…
(Part 2 of 2)
SINK OR SWIM? WHAT TO DO WHEN SUBMERGED IN A TANK OF FASTER SWIMMING FISH
TIP #3: BE PATIENT, YET PROACTIVE—You will only climb the rungs of the corporate ladder as high as you can raise your hand. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Although in this case, fear is the right feeling. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed with the thought of the unknown, especially when first starting out in a new career. The lesson here is to overcome this fear with frequent questioning.
In the beginning, fear will help propel your ability to ask the right questions, demonstrate your wheels are turning behind those blank stares at the conference table and your willingness to not be satisfied with silence. Display the urge to dig deeper into the thought process and even volunteer yourself to try something new.
By volunteering for new tasks that are beyond your regular 9 am–5 pm duties, you’re creating for yourself an opportunity to expand your skills. Offer your time and extra pair of hands to pitch in and get dirty. Find out how you can contribute more to the greater team. You’d be surprised how much you’ll learn when you take the chance to dive in.
Scared to dive in without your swimmies? Just remember, “An expert at anything was once a beginner.”
I THOUGHT YOGA WAS FOR GURUS
TIP #4: FIND YOUR “GO-TO GURUS”—These aren’t just the various experts of the biz (of course you need these too!), these go-to’s are your mentors, your sounding boards, your 5-minute coffee break pals who help you refocus your energy and stay positive so you can finish your day strong.
Speaking of mentors…
TIP #5: FIND A MENTOR AND STICK TO HIM/HER LIKE GLUE—Keep your eyes and ears open while around your mentor, and you’d be surprised how quickly you can pick up the catchphrases of the industry and get the lay of the land around the office.
The best part (although maybe not the favorite for most) of working in an open-cubicle environment is the full exposure you have to everyone around you. This is the easiest way to observe different operational styles. Like any good fashion designer, you observe the trends around you; see what works and what just wouldn’t look good if you tried it on for yourself.
Different People = Different Experiences, which allows you to pick and choose what traits you’d like to adopt and morph into your own as a young professional, thus developing your own unique employee “style.”
Remember when shopping for the good in people: Take the best, leave the rest!
TIP #6: ELEVATORS CAN BE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS A GOOD RESUME—Spurring a small conversation on the way up to the 4th-floor lobby may be the best way to help you get to know your coworkers, and them to know you. Just by engaging in pleasant chatter, you quickly learn who does what and what areas they can assist with. Although it appears effortless at the time, this task may just be the thing that ends up getting you the answers you need in a pinch later on.
At the very least say hello—it’s just plain polite!
TIP #7: GET INVOLVED—Here’s my shameless plug… There’s always room for newbies on the corporate softball team! And what better way to meet people from all areas of the company than with a piece of Big League Chew and friendly camaraderie over the umpire’s last questionable call?
Getting to know your “team” outside of the office can help strengthen your understanding of how they operate best when in the office. It’s not just about building a bond on the field (although, always a plus), it also allows you to observe your teammates’ true personalities and preferences. Once you’re aware of how a member functions at his/her highest level, it provides the answer to the age-old question of how to successfully perform as a team where it matters the most—with your clients.
EASY AS PIE
Last but certainly not least, before considering a path forward to your tomorrow, I urge you to follow TIP #8: EXPLORE ALL CORNERS OF THE EARTH (or in this case, corporation)—In order to operate as a true team player, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of your company first. Use your x-ray goggles to really gain a fundamental understanding of all departments, their specific roles and how they fit into the overall “corporate pie.”
After all, how is a team supposed to win a game with players who don’t even know each other’s names or positions on the field? (It’s tough!)
The good news is unlike on the softball field, with a well integrated business team, it is possible at the end of the day to have more than one winner: You, Your Team and Your Employer. I’m a firm believer of the saying: “Individual talent can win games, but TEAMWORK wins championships.”
In closing, do the legwork! Use these steps to set yourself up for success and leap with confidence. Look to your teammates and mentors for help along the way to reach new heights and refine your goals, but don’t sit back and let others pave the way for you.
Remember, this is YOUR future; Pack your own parachute!
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