You lead the career and talent development committee for the Greater Columbus Georgia Young Professionals. What's your advice for a recent college graduate navigating his or her first job?
The most important thing anyone needs to understand is that learning doesn't stop. By all means, celebrate the fact that you have graduated from college. That is a tremendous accomplishment. But in the grand scheme of corporate America, college was kindergarten for adults. In college you learn the fundamental concepts that you need to be successful, kind of like your ABCs. Your first job is akin to the first grade; it's when you learn how to put your knowledge into practice, kind of like when you learned how to spell those seven-letter words. Come to your first job ready to take notes, and find a study buddy.
What are some common mistakes 20-somethings might make upon entering the professional world?
I see it every day working as a recruiter, and I am guilty of it myself. As Millennials we have a universal expectation that our hard work will be quickly recognized and as a result our careers will advance rapidly. We have to come to terms with the fact that a promotion doesn't come when you complete a level, but rather when you master the game.
What's the best way to ask for your first raise?
From my personal experience I would say that you shouldn't have to. If you are a hard worker and are making significant contributions to the organization, then by now you more than likely have caught the attention of a key decision maker. You do have to be open to change, as a raise may actually not mean a promotion within your current role, but rather with another department or even another company.
If you feel that you have reached a point where it is necessary to ask for a raise, then there is one tough conversation you need to have with yourself first: Have you become a subject matter expert in your field and are you making changes to your role that are strategic and sustainable. If you can honestly say yes, then you should walk right into your manager's office and have the conversation. But like I mentioned earlier, if this were true, chances are a good manager has already noticed.
You recently turned 25. Is the rumored "quarterlife crisis" a real deal?
Absolutely! Or at least it is for me. My "quarterlife crisis" has been a culmination of two thought-altering revelations. The first is that I'm officially an adult and the decisions I make have a significant impact. When I make a mistake, I can't just call "mulligan" and laugh it off like I did in college. You also have to think twice before you "do something for the story."
The second realization has been the hardest and most humbling: I am incredibly ambitious, and I had very different expectations and visions of how my life should have been by 25. In my master plan, I was to be living in New York City working as a creative director for a major magazine published by Condé Nast. I have had to learn that life inevitably will send you on detours and you will encounter roadblocks that seem insurmountable. You have to understand that everything is a growing opportunity and that no matter what, you have to just keep going. Although it doesn't feel like it, it is OK that I am here instead of there, because I know fate has greatness in store for me.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
By far, it's the countless number of social, civic and recreational groups that are available to young people in our region. From Young Professionals to kickball and the Columbus Contemporaries there is always something exciting to do and to learn about our community. Did you know there was a Polo Association in Upatoi? I just learned about it, and I plan on attending the 33rd Polo Cup Tournament Championship Game on Sept. 23.