Views from a Recent Graduate: 3 observations of young employees to help young employees

While this entire blog represents the views from a recent graduate, this post specifically will focus on some of my recent observations in the work place (and its never too late to drop a Drake reference!).  These may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many young employees and interns are not very self-aware and take ill advised actions.  Here are four observations, for the sake of this article I call them “views,” I’ve had over the past few months:

View #1: Young employees wearing suit coats into an office that is casual dress.  We have not discussed dress code much in this blog, so more to come on that later.  The most important thing to note when considering what to wear, is the culture.  If your entire company is casual dress (blue jeans every day), dress accordingly.  If you are a new employee at a casual company, wearing a suit coat just makes you seem unobservant of your surroundings.  Yes, you want to “dress to impress,” but dress does not play a major factor in decision-making or your ability to get a promotion or a raise as a young employee - the quality of your work does.  By wearing a suit coat, you do not improve your chances of getting a promotion; you are simply wearing more clothes to try and show off to people that do not care.  This does not mean you cannot look nice, but do so tastefully according to your culture.

View #2Young employees speaking up in meetings.  This was mentioned in the Internship Guide.  I was in a meeting with a young employee on their first day.  They were actively speaking up, sharing their opinion, and asking questions.  This is great!  Many young employees are timid on their first day, week, and/or month.  I implore you to speak up!  When this young employee spoke up in the meeting I was a little startled, honestly, because I wasn’t expecting their participation so soon.  But, I was impressed because of their eagerness to join in on the conversation and contribute.  Be sure to speak up in meetings.  The general rule of thumb is if you do not contribute to the conversation, you should not be in the meeting.  Take it upon yourself to ask a question or share your thoughts in all of your meetings, even as a young employee.

View #3: Young employees concerned about rescheduling meetings.  As a young employee there is an internal perception that you need to be at the beck and call of every more-senior employee.  And, if you reschedule a meeting you will be looked at negatively.  This is not the case.  Just like senior employees, things come up that force you to shuffle around your schedule.  Your reputation will not be tarnished by rescheduling a meeting. Don’t spend precious time and energy concerning yourself with the repercussions of rescheduling a meeting, because there aren’t any repercussions.  People in Corporate America are understanding that schedules change often, so act accordingly.  

The key takeaway from this post is self-awareness.  You need to be self-aware and understand the ramifications of your actions.  Be observant of how others behave at your company.  Learning how others behave will make you more self-aware of your own actions.  Being self-aware will make you a better communicator, in turn, making you a better employee.

Thought Starters

  • What "views" do you have of your peers as a young employee?
  • How have you observed your company culture and adapted accordingly?