I’ve been thinking a lot about the lessons I teach my students as a latin dance coach and how that applies to learning about my own career.
This past weekend, there was a big competition and I was pleased to see how my students did. They didn’t make the final, but the level of improvement that I saw was noticeable and was, frankly, brilliant.
I told a few couples the same thing. This isn’t the end. You can see how far you’ve come from the beginning and you can track your progress up until now. This is a milestone on what will hopefully be a long career. You’ll be able to reflect on this later, but you’re still working toward something coming down the road.
The same applies to you in your professional career. Regardless of where you are now, job seeking or not, happy in what you do or just seeing your job as nothing more than something that pays the bills, entry level or senior management, this isn’t it. We get really wrapped up in knowing where we are right now (and for those of you who are unemployed, I appreciate why that’s more true for you), but we tend to forget that it’s the collection of milestones – the journey, if you will – that makes a career. It’s how you work to shape the journey that matters.
As we get close to the end of the year, and as we approach performance review season for those of you that have that kind of system in place, reflect on that and consider your milestones and what kind of milestones you expect and hope for in the future. It’s a pretty personal topic, so I won’t force anyone, but if you’re inclined to share, I’d love to hear what’s on your mind.
Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of that somewhat needy, somewhat demanding Gen Yer? Consider this:
A friend of mine graduated early from college. He took a job in the field that he had planned on entering years before. He got bored at this first place and left to go work somewhere better, somewhere more in line with what he wanted to do, but taking a pay cut to do it. He worked his way up and now, a year and a half later, he has more seniority and slightly more responsibility. He’s back up to where he was on the salary side and, with the bonus structure, he’s probably coming out ahead.
Recently, he got to the point where he is so bored with doing the same thing day in and day out that he needs to make a change. Obviously there’s not a whole lot out there. But he did find something that he was being considered for. I asked him about the salary after his interview and he said that it would be yet another pay cut. When I made a face, he told me that he didn’t care, that it was all about the work and that he was willing to let the money slide.
This is what Gen Y is all about. It’s not about the money. Let me repeat that for emphasis. It’s not about the money. It’s about the responsibility. It’s about the skill set you develop in a job. It’s about career development. It’s about being able to make connections and network. It’s about feeling challenged in a position. It’s about knowing that what you do is actually making a difference. It’s about having a sense of purpose at work. It’s about feeling accomplished at the end of the day.
Think about that when you’re dealing with the Gen Yer at the next desk or at the cubicle outside your office.
Rock on Gen Y.