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Ambiguous is a word that plagues job descriptions and requirements on many a job search page frequented my millennials. Why? Because we live in the most ambiguous, ever-changing, bi-polar days of the USA, ever (I could be wrong. Thinking about colonial days, I imagine everyone had to be a self-starter). Quite frankly, there aren’t any “normal” jobs for us because our parents or even our grandparents still have them! Attorney, Executive Assistant, Business Person, Editor, Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur. We settle for the ambiguous because 1. We can handle that; it’s been our lot in life since getting a car at 16/17/18/23 (see, even the age with which you are bestowed—or purchase for yourself—a car that marks your independence is ambiguous. And even then, you never knew what you were going to get… thank you 2001, Jose the hatchback Hyundai) and 2. Because we don’t have a choice. Everyone is an entrepreneur. It’s this generations chosen field and beneath it stems career paths such as Graphic Designer, Blogger, Personal Chef, Florist, Musician, Event and Wedding Planner, Uber/Lyft/other Driver, House Cleaner, Personal/Executive Assistant (don’t get it twisted, Assistants may be serving a master but they make their own luck and hustle in being the person anyone successful enough to need an assistant to want to pay them a salary), and of course, the job I wish I had enough charisma for—The YouTube Star. No, I don’t have dreams of being YouTube famous, but advertisers are hashing out billions of dollars a year to active and thriving YouTubers. So, it’s safe to say in this consumerist society, those extroverted charismatics have a place to grow exciting careers for a long long time.
But what about the rest of us? What about the undecided? See, if you’re like me, you have a lot of interests; things that make you want to jump out of bed and try but every once in a while, you hit a wall and feel stuck because there is SO MUCH OUT THERE. But, the writing on the wall says, “What is actually going to sustain your Netflix habit and keep your fridge full of items selected specifically for recipes from Ayesha’s cookbook? Oh, and STUDENT LOANS…” It’s nice to have the option and the motivation to try it all. Today, there is more self-help, “life coachy,” motivational content out there than ever before and we are drinking the well dry. All of those motivational posts, blogs, books, vlogs, etc. are telling us to “go for it girl!” “Show up and kick ass,” they say. “Always be closing,” they say. And it’s all soooo encouraging and we want to change the world and make our mark wherever we land. “Wooo! Let’s do this!” But, within trying it all to find our calling, what exactly are we doing?
So many of us have bachelor’s degrees and aren’t using them in our current sustaining jobs. So many don’t have any sort of degree and decide gaining job experience is the way to go. Both types of millennials often gain a lot of years of the same old thing or hop from one job to another, which equates to not a lot of experience and no growth even if our sights are set higher. Some who are using their degrees in entrepreneurial avenues (graphic design, event planning, personal training, etc.) have a hard time breaking into “successful” margins to sustain themselves and their small business—which has a LOT of struggles attached to it and you can find a Q&A with a few friends of mine who are endeavoring the fickle waters of the private professional world later on.
How do we reach toward greater, the less ambiguous? Find a place for ourselves, in whatever interest we finally settle on? How do we get higher? “It’s a state of mind, man.” But really! I am suggesting that it all starts in our thoughts. We know recruiters and professionals are hiring LOADS of experience in their field but, of course those with a successful track record have been on the workforce a lot longer. Don’t let that deter you!
Here are some “life coachy” tips for those who need to get their head on straight:
Reach out to those who DO have more experience and gain a mentor, someone who’s brain you can pick for strategy and creative ideas to grow. Who are some leaders in your industry or interest accessible to you?
Wherever you are, whatever your hands find to do, do it with excellence and above the call of duty. What is required of you? What are some needs surrounding your job that could make your job or those jobs around you more efficient or just more fun all-around?
Be vigilant and pro-active. Don’t wait for direction if your instincts tell you to do something which benefits your team. I would always prefer to be told, “Woah, slow down!” than, “Have you finished that report yet?” or a disbelieving, “Go…” What do you need to stop waiting for?
Never stop learning. Administrative assisting isn’t always the most exciting, but within the responsibilities of admin there are things you learn to do with repetition that will always be helpful and effective in other career paths. Start making a list!
Got dreams? Start hacking away at them in your spare time. I want to write a cook book and have been working on it for the better part of a year. It’s not something I can cash out on today, but in the future, I am certain my patience and persistence will have paid off. What can you do to start towards your dreams?
Failure is an option. Entrepreneurs are innovators who see a need, fill a need, and only get better after failure. I’m not saying go forth expecting to fail and let that be an excuse to not do things with excellence. I’m saying, have courage when you fail. Because it will happen, and times will be troubled, but not all the time. How are you going to get back on your feet when you fall?
Finally, if all we are thinking about on the job is getting it done but not growth, then we will never gain a career or simply, stability. We will never feel settled and always be searching. You may be undecided and flailing today, but tomorrow you could be one step closer to finding or creating a captivating and fulfilling career path tailor-made you.