As an undergrad, it is impossible not to be bombarded with opportunities to join clubs and organizations. I recall people coming into my dorm room freshman year, uninvited, and sitting on my lounge chair to recruit me to come to fraternity events. It was certainly overwhelming.
In light of the overwhelming bombardment of clubs and organizations, why would you want to be part of one? The title of this post says it all: to connect with like-minded people. The members of a group are there to serve the group's purpose and, through those experiences, the members form a common bond. This helps create connections that can last for a long time.
Outside of the ability to be around like-minded people, there are also a great deal of skills that can be acquired as a result of being a part of a club or organization. Some of those skills, to name a few, are:
- Problem solving
- Leadership to name a few
These skills are what employers see out of your participation in a club or organization during recruiting season.
Fortunately, these groups and experiences don't end once you graduate.
Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a common name for clubs, similar to student organizations, within a company. They are based on commonalities, like being a young employee, or an employee of Hispanic heritage. They are a great way to further your connection to a community and your company, as well as meet new people quickly. Check out some of Google's ERGs here.
ERGs present a great opportunity to gain leadership and managerial skills while at the bottom of the corporate ladder.
In your day-to-day functions, you may not have the ability to manage a team. But, as part of an ERG you can take on more responsibility and lead a team on a given project - a great side project to tell your manager you've been taking the initiative to tackle.
Maybe the current list of ERGs at your company doesn't suit your needs or desires. Start your own! This will allow you to meet a ton of new people and show others that you have an entrepreneurial mindset. Plus, I'm sure there are a lot of people at your company with a similar interest. A few ideas:
- Book Club
- Coding Club for Non-Tech People
- Running Club
Maybe you do not want to join the ERG at your company or start your own - that is OK. For whatever reason it is not a good fit for you or you don't want to spend the time in the group while at work. It is important to note that just because you are a young employee at your company does not mandate you to participate in the young employee ERG at your company.
You can join a group outside of work instead. Maybe you are truly passionate about baking. Join a baking club or class. Or you love volunteering at the local animal shelter. Do that! Having an outlet outside of work is beneficial for your self-fulfillment and mental energy.
Taking a break from work to focus on a passion is a great way to recharge the batteries and increase productivity at work.
One resource for external clubs or groups is Meetup. Meetup offers the opportunity to meet other people who share a common interest or are looking to learn something new.
My Experience with ERGs
I have been fortunate enough to hold a leadership position in an ERG at my company. It has given a great opportunity to learn about leading a team and how to be a manager. While this may not impact my day-to-day job right now, I know it will prove to be beneficial later in my career. This was a natural extension for me from my experience in my business fraternity where I held a leadership position. ERGs allow you to build upon the skill sets you learned in your student organizations at an early stage in your career.
- What employee groups would you be interested in participating in or creating?
- How can you use your skill sets or passions to share them with other like-minded individuals at your company?