Career Advice: 5 Years into the Work World . . . Now What?
Storytelling Communications

Career Advice: 5 Years into the Working World . . . Now What?

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When I sat down to write my first piece for the Content Standard, I began looking back five years and reflecting on the life events that have helped me transition and grow both personally and professionally.

I have to take a moment to highlight how fitting Skyword’s tag line, “Moving stories. Forward.” is for me, particularly around the meaning of “forward.” During my reflection, I came away with three pieces of career advice I’ve found to be effective when it comes to constantly moving my personal and professional life forward:

1. Attitude

Subway seats on a train

In my opinion, attitude is everything.

Growing up, my mom’s go-to term was “AA,” which meant attitude adjustment. She’d use the acronym in large settings (around the dinner table, out at sporting events, in town, etc.) so as not to embarrass us by calling out that we were misbehaving, but when we heard the term, boy did we know she meant business.

In a professional setting, this same emphasis on attitude still applies. Taking the time every once in a while to conduct an “attitude adjustment” at work—especially when you’re dealing with a stressful situation or finding yourself in a bad mood—can help immensely. This tends to not only benefit your overall productivity and outlook for the day, but also your coworkers’ perception of you.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.”
—Walt Whitman

2. Change

This word can be scary and intimidating—the idea of change certainly makes me uneasy. I’m a creature of habit. I tend to alternate between the same three tried-and-true recipes when cooking dinner, I write out my to-do lists for work daily on the same Staples Signa-branded, white-lined notebook paper, and I tend to run the same route around the Charles River Esplanade.

However, I found myself at a crossroads in my career last year. I had been at a traditional advertising agency for over three years and, while I had grown immensely, I wanted something more. At the time, the idea of change was completely overwhelming.

I eventually took the risk and joined Skyword. Now looking back over the past year, I realize the change was exactly what I needed to move myself forward. My career advice to others? You need to always be open to change in order to grow. Change provided me with the opportunity to continue growing my career within the marketing field, expand my skill set, and break free from the “agency” bubble I was living in.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
—Albert Einstein

3. Assertiveness

The ability to be assertive does not come easily to everyone; however, when it comes to career growth and pushing yourself forward as an employee, manager, or director, assertiveness is key.

This trait ultimately leads you to make goals for yourself, feel comfortable enough to ask where you stand with a company or team, and have honest conversations with yourself and your company’s leadership team. You need to be more assertive to recognize your strengths and weaknesses in your line of work.

“Choose to be proactive, assertive, and self-defining.”
—Bryant McGill

As I look back over my 26 years (going on 27), these three lessons are things I need to constantly be working on and striving toward to move myself forward. The best career advice I can give is to push yourself personally and professionally to live your life to the fullest, every single day.

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