With spring graduation right around the corner and many students leaving their “college nests,” as a millennial and a recent college grad myself, I thought I’d shed some light on my post-graduation predicaments.
I, like many of you, was forced to leave the comfort of Academia and be thrown head first into Corporate America. And for us “creative types”, aka Marketers, this transition can be brutal.
Sure, our generation has a notorious rep for our so-called “job hopping, high-maintenence, entitled attitudes,” but I call BS on that! And by BS, I mean bull sh*t, not my Bachelors in Science degree (actually, depending on who you ask… the two terms just might be synonymous). But in reality, I think we just refuse to settle for a humdrum work environment, as should everyone in my opinion.
I’m sure my fellow millennial marketers will agree, we want a workplace that inspires and motivates. Our best work won’t come while sitting still in a cubicle, staring at a screen all day with a set of blinders on. I’m sure there are people out there who love the cubicle life, but no offense, that’s just not my cup of tea.
So what on earth should you be looking for in an employer? I’d say look past the glitz and glamour (ping pong tables, free lunches, and the array of coffee options are awesome but not the end all be all) and ask yourself to dig deep on these 5 crucial aspects if you really want to #lovewhatyoudo…
Can you dig the vibe?
How do you feel about working in cubicles (aka the grey chambers of death)? Or being forced to look at a glaring screen all day as the atmosphere is infested with nothing but tension, stress, and awkward silences?
Yeah, I’m not feeling it either. Wouldn’t you rather have people who you can collaborate with? People who engage your mind and start incredible conversations that get your creative juices flowing? Often times we are only as brilliant, creative and inspired as the people we surround ourselves with.
You should be able to dig the work environment and vibes. You should be able to experience positive energies and vibrant personalities who make your job feel more enjoyable instead of feeling like you’re in an ‘adult, time-out’ session, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Can your curiosity be catered to?
Around my second day at the job, Chris, our Head of Marketing here at Salecycle, sat me down and said “look, the only people who don’t succeed here are the people who don’t ask questions.” Guess what I started doing almost immediately? Asking questions. A ton of questions.
“Why is the website doing this?”
“What does this email mean?”
“Is there a better way to say this?”
I asked an endless amount of questions. And you should too, you know why? Because no question is a stupid question (ok sometimes there are a few dumb ones but use common sense people). If you’re honestly confused, seriously struggling, or have no idea what the heck you’re doing, shouldn’t you feel like you have the liberty to have your concerns and curiosity catered to? I think so too.
Are you celebrated?
We all come with different skills, experiences and education levels. What if you, with your unique set of skills and talents, contributed to an awesome idea and it was a success? Wouldn’t you want to feel like your contribution made a difference? I’m thinking your response to this question should be along the lines of oh, I don’t know, “hell yeah!”
You, undoubtedly, should work somewhere where you feel like you are celebrated. Where you feel like a crucial member of the team whose ideas are heard, whose opinions are important, and whose presence makes a difference. I mean, really, why would you ever want to work somewhere where you’re made out to feel inconsequential and irrelevant? You’re not just there to fill a seat my friend, find a company that reminds you of that.
Are you lov’in it?
I quoted her multiple times, including during my interview, and I’m going to quote her again dammit! Oprah Winfrey (bless her) once said “follow your passion, because it leads you to your purpose.” Take a moment to ask yourself if you’re passionate about this, and more than that, if this company will drive this passion?
Because when that passion is fostered, when that passion is enhanced, when that passion is encouraged, you will find meaning in your work. If this job doesn’t move you, if this job doesn’t tug at your heart a little, if this job – dare I say it, just feels like a job, then maybe there is some self-evaluating you have to do.
Like they say, when you wake up doing something you have to do, it’s called stress. But when you wake up doing something you love to do, it’s called passion.
Can you spread your wings?
Whether it’s in a marketing position, or just as an individual in life, it’s so important we put ourselves into situations and opportunities that allow us to grow.
There are many jobs that constrict you to certain duties and responsibilities, but you want a job that allows movement. And let’s be honest, a set routine of responsibilities is nice to have. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable. But you know what else it is? It’s boring! You want to learn. You want different perspectives and insight. You want to experience some kind of dynamic in your work that could possibly shift the dynamic in your thought process. Guess what that helps with? You guessed it, your creativity! And ultimately, you want that kind of change that aids you in your growth as a Marketing professional.
So reflect. Does your job-position (or prospective job) allow you to evolve beyond your job-description?