Today's blog post is written by Paxton H. Paxton is currently a junior at the University of Southern California studying Business Administration with a minor in Digital Studies. To learn more about him you can view his personal website at www.paxtonhall.com or check out his multi-media blog that focuses on race and culture at www.mixedbowl.com.
Upon telling those currently working full-time in Corporate America that I am a junior in college and will be graduating in a little over a year, I cannot tell you how many times I have been met with the disheartening phrase “Enjoy it while it lasts”. With two internships under my belt already and another one set for this upcoming summer, I have had the opportunity to meet a number of employees. Some of which enjoy their jobs greatly, and some of which complain that their job is slowly killing them inside. I have actually split them into two groups: Corporate Kill, an employee akin to the professional version of road kill, and Corporate Trill, an employee that has managed to stay a combination of “true” and “real” (True + Real = Trill) to themselves while navigating their professional career.
From my observations, Corporate Kill often:
- Fail to spend time contemplating what it is they want to accomplish professionally – I believe a large reason for this, especially for Millennials, is that we are so used to having an endless supply of entertainment (Facebook, Snapchat, Netflix, etc.) that we have lost the capacity to be alone in our thoughts. Out of stillness and solitude comes better understanding of oneself, and more of us need to take the time to unplug and have interpersonal dialogues that revolve around “What is it that I want to do with my life” rather than “When is the next season of my favorite show coming out on Netflix”
- Would rather stay unhappy in a role they have become accustomed to than pursue an opportunity that offers a greater reward but would bring with it a temporary period of emotional discomfort
- Have an “Enjoy it while it lasts” mentality that ingrains a belief that their most rewarding years ended with the completion of college
On the other hand, Corporate Trill tend to:
- Regularly take the time to envision their ideal professional futures
- Know their worth and are willing to pursue role changes or even jobs at new companies if their worth is not being recognized for its deserved market value
- Constantly work on mastering their craft on the job to the point that they genuinely look forward to their work– They know that the better they get at something the more fun it becomes, even if it was boring at first
As I approach graduation, and discuss with my peers about what is to come after we finish this run of four years, I cannot help but think about who will fall into each of these categories. Of course, work is not your entire life, but for most of us, it will be the part of our life that consumes the majority of our time. It is important to look at how that time can be maximized. I want to ensure that when I am 30 years old and talking with a budding intern that the conversation is not about the insane number of hours I work or how my boss is not giving me the credit I deserve, but rather that I can serve as an inspiration of what success can look like if you take the time to dedicate yourself to your career aspirations.
Here are some tips and resources I use that will help you excel in your professional endeavors:
- Read 10 pages a day. Many masters of their respective industries have written books about their professional careers, sharing their insights and highlighting mistakes they have made and what they could have done to avoid them. Start with Sam Walton: Made in America. For less than $10 and 10 hours of reading you can learn the key elements that made Sam Walton’s Walmart a corporation that now makes over $400 billion in revenue
- Take 10 minutes a day to be alone with your thoughts. I recommend starting out with a meditation app like Headspace to assist you through the journey of better understanding yourself in an environment of solitude
- Continually keep up to date with news and trends in the business community through a subscription to a news source such as The Economist. How do you expect to thrive in a corporate setting if you are not well versed in recent corporate developments?
To always stay trill.