Those of us who went straight through undergraduate studies and graduate studies (God bless you who went beyond) will understand where I’m coming from. It didn’t click with me for about two years that I was still adjusting to work after college.
A real-life review after college
I had just completed my 90-day review with my supervisor at my second ever full-time job, and I was an emotional mess. So the criticism I received came as a surprise. It wasn’t bad, but I was hoping for more. After all, I was still exhausted from producing a 10,000 attendee event!
I expected to receive a glowing review, promotion and salary raise for my performance. I thought I was the exception. But in reality, I did my job to my best ability and showed great potential to really grow in my position. Nothing more, nothing less.
Upon reflection, I realized that my mind still operated on the semester schedule. Start a class, learn the basics of a niche, research, and report on it, and then move on to the next topic.
Adjusting mediocre “work experience”
After four months of grueling work to produce an event, I felt highly satisfied with my production. I’d say that I earned a B+ grade and could now “graduate” to the next level of my career having passed this “course”, simply fulfilling my prerequisite. Apparently, I was still adjusting to a full-time work mindset from a college mindset.
In order to earn a promotion, I need years of experience to earn the “stripes.” The years of meticulous repetition provides the expertise needed to truly level up in the workforce. Not the mere completion of one project for the first time. That was just novice experience that I’d gained. I believed experiences like these earned me “expert” status because that’s how college worked.
It’s adjusting, don’t get discouraged
So to all of my fellow millennials struggling to reach your potential, don’t get discouraged. Society shows us a different career expectation than what is taught in school. Put in those hours and the time, despite what you’ve learned because you’ll really need it for the next level. Be patient and don’t waiver on your dreams because of the drudgery of today’s work. In the end, it’ll all pay off.
Continue the journey with me as we navigate the post-collegiate waters. I have an upcoming course called Hack Your Post-Grad Life Lifestyle, where we talk about adjusting to career changes such as these after school, but also finances, living spaces, and your social circle. Sign up here! If you liked this post, you’ll love the course.