Today officially marks my 1 year anniversary working in marketing for Buffini & Company and I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned during my brief stint so far as a young professional.
1. Have some humor
I am always far too serious. Luke and I learned this the hard way. When we first started dating, he’d make an off-handed sarcastic remark and I’d assume he was dead serious. Thoughts start racing: “How could he say that? Am I dating a psychopath?” Nope, turns out I just had zero sense of humor. My roommate proceeded to put me on a strict diet of The Office reruns which helped me identify sarcasm out in the wild.
I’m not saying you need to be the office prankster, but developing a professional sense of humor has helped me not get too caught up in the smallest remarks and honestly, it just makes every day more fun. You’re going to be spending a considerable part of your life at work, why not have some laughs at the same time?
2. Just Say No
For those of us who are new to the workforce, this might be the hardest lesson to learn. We’re eager to please, eager to get new experiences and opportunities, and bring a lot of energy to our work. All of these are great things with huge potential pitfalls. In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown makes this powerful point: “Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” Saying no to things because you’re feeling lazy or aren’t working efficiently enough is a problem. Saying no to things because you are trying to make the most valuable contribution to your company by effectively leveraging your skills and strengths is smart. I’d encourage you to read the entire book, but here’s the jist of how being an Essentialist makes you a more valuable employee.
Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.
3. Set goals
Want to take the next step up the ladder or switch to a different department? Got an awesome idea you’re itching to implement? Those things won’t happen without clearly defining your goal and then breaking it down into actionable steps. Give yourself a deadline and then get to it.
I’m fortunate to work at a company that encourages goal-setting and continual improvement. As a result, I’ve experienced some positive spillover effects into my personal life as well. I’ve always lived and breathed goals but often equated them with to-dos. Learning how to make longer-term goals and then parcel those out in the near future has been incredibly helpful in making dreams come true. For Christmas, my wonderful husband got me a Nomatic planner + journal that is designed perfectly to balance daily tasks, long-term goals, and everything in between. Take a look!
Whether you’ve been working for 3 months or 30 years, what are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned so far? I’d love to hear them!