Career Advice from a Millennial

My elbow isn’t broken anymore so I can type better which means my backlog of handwritten blogs is coming at you. I am in no way a career expert but I’ve done the hiring and I’ve been hired so that makes me a little qualified. I gave up on the title of this and didn’t feel the need to sugar coat it. Here are some gems to remember when navigating your career.

You Don’t Owe Company ___________ Anything

Once upon a time, people stayed at the same job for fifty years and then the millennials happened. Millennials realized the power of job hopping and loyalty was dead. Job hopping can be a negotiating tool now. I have personally asked for a raise with the words, “if salary x isn’t possible I may have to look elsewhere for employment.” I’ve had successes and failures with it but the idea of actually doing it is foreign to some people. As soon as peeps realized you could get hit by a bus tomorrow and company x would have your replacement on deck like pronto there went company loyalty. Also, sometimes you get bored at work and need growth and you must remember you are not a tree you do not have to stay there but don’t quit without something else lined up. Also, don’t feel bad for quitting. You are loyal to your professional and personal growth.

Ask for Money and Come with Receipts

I negotiated my first raise in college. Since then I’m like “I deserve more money because x,y,z” and because of me “result 1, result 2, result 3” happened. You have to come to the table with specifics. One time I watched my male colleague who got hired after me get promoted before me. I asked my boss for a promotion and she said no, so I asked her boss and two weeks later it was a yes. A lot of times if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

More Money Does Not Equal Happiness

I’ve been a secretary, a flight attendant, business analyst, customer service representative, and the funny thing is some of my lowest paid jobs were the most enjoyable. Flight attendant me was so poor that the federal student loan income-based repayment plan was all, “you good, let us defer this for you.” A high salary can trick you into thinking you’re happy, be careful or you’ll end up four years down the road in a mediocre, unfulfilling job wondering how you got there. (If you get to that point please reread the first bullet)

PTO Days Are Yours

Stop feeling bad about requesting off. You earn paid time off most of the time and you should totally use it. You don’t even have to go anywhere to use your vacation days. Take a day off and stay at home. Some companies only let a few days roll over a year so use them or lose them.

Ask Questions at the End of Your Next Interview

They can’t be generic, “how long have you worked here” type of questions but things like, “how do you measure success,” “what would my first task be in this position,” “what is the most challenging part of this position,” and if you’re feeling bold ask, “do you have any concerns with my resume?” These type of questions flip the script and allow the interviewer to be in the hot seat. It’ll leave a nice lasting impression.

Send a Thank You Email, Letter, Carrier Pigeon After the Interview

As someones that’s looked through resumes and has done hiring, it looks good when you thank the interviewer for their time. If you want to be fancy, write down the names of some of your interviewers and some key takeaways from the interview. It doesn’t even have to be a long thank you, just something that will make you stand out.

I swear I didn’t feel like a grown-up until I turned thirty. I realized I knew more than I thought I did and that my job experiences could help someone else. What’s one piece of career advice you would give a millennial?

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