Pay Your Dues
For the record, I am a product of Gen Y… perhaps an earlier product of it, but Gen Y nonetheless.
It’s come to my attention, through the thousands of publications that have dissected this issue, that we have a certain sense of entitlement.
We like to move up quickly and gain rewards based on our performance. However, we also tend to get frustrated easily when presented with too much red tape or individuals who would seek to slow our progression.
As with most anything, this can be viewed as a strength or a weakness.
As a group, I think we need to STOP and consider some essential pieces of career development.
Take a step back for a moment and realize that while a career should be interesting and engaging, the individual tasks that come together to make up our “job” are not always going to inspire us. Sometimes, you are going to have to run through some mud in order to get to higher ground – there is good reason for this.
Earn Your Role
When I started in the Staffing Industry, I was an Office Assistant. The funny part about it was that my to-be boss wasn’t entirely sure if I could be a recruiter because I was too quiet.
I took the role with enthusiasm. I learned about the business from the ground up. From data-entry, holiday party planning, job fair coordination… setting out snacks for candidates as they came in – I went through the proverbial mud. I learned a ton about the business from that perspective and I’m grateful for having been placed in the role.
Four promotions and 2.5 years later, I was running a branch office that did over $4M a year in annual revenue. I had five recruiters and an Office Assistant to boot! I worked my tail off to earn that role and, I can assure you, at no point in that process did I ever turn my nose up at special projects. To the contrary, I got involved with everything I possibly could. I learned about financials, recruiting models, interviewing strategies, management methodology, retention planning for major accounts, sales… the list goes on.
Each skill and knowledge set was learned only by going through a bit of discomfort and, on many occasions, performing tasks that didn’t immediately seem to be applicable.
The End Result of Mud-Running
If I hadn’t planned the party, pounded out the data-entry, organized the cookies and put up with menial tasks, it would have been much harder for me to understand what I was asking from my subordinates when they were tasked with those items. While I may have been capable of managing the team, it would have been much more challenging to lead them.
There is value in engaging with alternative tasks at work.
Have you ever worked for someone that didn’t understand your role or what you had to do in order to perform your essential job functions? Wasn’t it frustrating?
Have you ever engaged in a project (menial or not) that didn’t immediately seem applicable… only to have it change your career?
I don’t proclaim to have all the answers (or even a small portion of them) to the meaning of “career success.” This is something that will ultimately be unique to each person.
My only advice is to search for value in your daily routine and consider how these lessons may translate into a better understanding going forward.
Photo Credit, Photos8.com