Thoughts about a happy career: The early days

If you’re at the beginning of your career you definitely have mixed feelings. You’re either very excited to start building your professional life or you might be scared and confused about where to start or who to talk too. Or you might be both.

We thought about pointing out some useful advice and guidance to help you navigate through the first years of your career, in a happy way.

It’s your first or second job. You successfully passed all interviews and preparation programs, you already have a few months in or maybe even a year or two. But if I would ask you what your career path looks like, you might not know what to answer.

Now is the perfect time to try out different things and find a work field that best suits your aspirations and your personality. You can have more than one focus and manage your resources so that you discover what suits you best, what your field is.

Have you ever heard of the T-shaped person theory? It’s a theory developed by David Guest in 1991 and later made popular by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. When describing a person and their aspirations, you think of a T. The vertical line in that T is the depth of his knowledge and experience in a certain field of work, while the horizontal line represents his ability to learn about and work in multiple disciplines, by making connections. Being a T-shaped person defines you as an individual with a valuable insight into his line of work, while still possessing the flexibility and the eagerness to interact with other fields. At this stage in your career, it’s the perfect time to develop your horizontal T line.

It’s not easy to have a coherent professional ascent when you’re dealing with all the daily hassles and responsibilities that leave no room for a bigger picture. So work your way downwards. Think about your 35-40 years old self, and strive to become that person.

 

Here are some of the advantages you have, that you can capitalize on:

ð   You have a lot more energy than you would if you were already 10 years into a career.

ð   You probably don’t have a big family yet, mortgages and loans or health expenses.

ð   You’re a Millenial. This is one of the biggest advantages. Gen Y or the Millenials are known for their hands-on approach, their creativity and thirst for innovation. Another trait that recommends them is their flexibility, combined with their ability to multitask.

ð   Another advantage is the freedom to try more than one field of work and see where you fit best.

We also listed some of the challenges you might face:

ð   Work more. This might be somewhat of a preconception but it’s more of a consequence of your learning process. In the beginning there are a lot of processes and tasks that you need to get done in order to understand the strategy behind them. And that takes time. However, at any given time of your career, it will be up to you to set the intensity and duration of your work. What’s truly important is that you work smart.

ð   Sleep less. Like all myths, this idea started from a reality and then got over-analyzed and advertised. Your time management skills may not be very well practiced until you get your first job. And that brings the possibility of a shift in your normal sleep schedule. But it all depends on your discipline and maturity.

ð   Make less money (in the short run) and less benefits. Good things come for those who invest in being good at what they do.

ð   Lack of practical experience and underdeveloped concrete skills. This is a challenge you’ll overcome in time, by simply doing your best to learn and use that information.

If you put them together, you have some useful takeaways that we hope will help you outline your career path and also ensure your workplace happiness, in the long run.

Takeaway

  • You can afford to take more risks and capitalize on them to boost your career.
  • There are a lot of opportunities that you will be able to explore. Use all of your energy to pilot projects, implement bold ideas and assert your creativity. Get as much hands-on experience as you can.
  • Your energy and thirst for innovation can help you set new landmarks in your field of work.
  • Save up! This will allow you to have the freedom and stability to handle any career shift or future challenge. And it will also be beneficial if you want to start a family in the future.
  • Network and make qualitative connections. Your career is not only built by the job opportunities you take but also by the people you work with..
  • Take a chance and work in a startup. Learn more about their stock options.
  • Discover your abilities and align them with your interests to start building a meaningful career.

 

Image via StockSnap.io under C.C.0 license

 

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