With almost exactly one year of experience as a working professional, I may not be the best person to provide advice about navigating the workplace in general. However, as my first year wraps-up I have definitely learned some tips that have helped me in my professional life this year. As I reflect on this year, I have begun to realize how important preparation, timing, and skill is in setting yourself up for success in the future. To end this year, I have composed a list of the best tips that I have learned and would give to any young professional starting their first year in their career.
Remember why you started
The first tip might sound redundant since it’s still the beginning of your career, but trust me the time goes by extremely fast. If you have not already found your “why” I would suggest reading Find Your Why by Simon Sinek. The book helps to inspire readers to discover their “why.” The why varies, however, it is typically the thing that drives and fulfills you. It’s your purpose. It’s a cause or belief that you consider your passion. Once you find your why, hold it close to you and keep reminders of it as there will be days when you simply need a reminder that you are working towards a purpose greater than yourself.
Find a hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with your job
This one was so important to me this year because as a salaried employee there are plenty of late work nights that can consume what used to be your personal time. There were days where I would get home with literally no time to do anything but shower and sleep, however, it is important to take charge of your personal time. To do this I started a blog, got a great gym membership and spent a lot of time exploring the city with my friends. Looking back on this year, I found those moments to be the most rewarding.
Diversify your network
One of the things that I noticed when I first started working was that although there are plenty of networking groups that cater to the industry that I’m in, they tended to consist of the same people. I wanted to meet new people since I was new to the city, so I decided that I needed to join groups that were not industry-specific. I started with young professional and service-based groups. One of my friends set up a challenge where we would have to attend at least one networking event in a different sector each month. I failed miserably at the challenge, but I did go to a lot of different events and was able to meet people from various industries in Dallas. I was able to make genuine friendships and connections and gained mentors in the process.
Study like you’re still in school
While I would consider this tip to be the most optional, it’s definitely worth mentioning. It is based on the quote by Earl Nightingale, “One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” The most successful people in the world have committed themselves to be lifetime learners. If you start your career with this mindset, it becomes the norm. You will become invaluable to any position you’re in based on the knowledge and expertise that you have of the subject. Even if the hour a day seems too ambitious, an hour or two each week will definitely give you great insight and expertise in your field.