How To Navigate Corporate America After Graduation.

Four years ago, you embarked on your college journey. You fought through late nights, difficult classes, boring classes, homework and deadlines and you finally arrived. Like any other journey, college has an end goal which is traditionally landing the job of your dreams. Now that you’ve graduated, you’ve applied to several jobs and thankfully you got an offer. How exciting!

Then there is the actual day to day routine of working the job. Oh, how sweet is that honeymoon phase. Everybody goes through it. Let me tell you. The honeymoon will end, for some rather quickly. What happens then? By the way, there are chances that you may not still be in that job in 5 years as the average millennial is likely going to switch jobs every 3 years.

Basically, things change. Your job will change – and your career may even throw you a curve ball.  Whatever your GPA was in school, it may not be relevant at all. Frankly, after years of experience in corporate America, I am more than ever convinced that skills such as communication, knowing how to deal with people and leadership are the key elements that will advance your career both professionally and financially. So, as you are building your career and living this adult life, you would come to road blocks such as the need for an increase in your salary, the need to resign and explore other avenues, dealing with difficult colleagues and bosses, etc. The outcome of those situations depends mainly on your attitude and your aptitude at managing challenges. In this article, I want to share with you a few tips that may become useful.

Getting a promotion and / or asking for a raise.

As some point in your professional journey, the feeling of having earned a promotion will arise. Whether that feeling is justified or is just manifestation of entitlement mentality, a promotion will not come to fruition unless you do your part. What’s your role? You must contribute to the success of the organization. I often hear millennials complain that no one would ‘give’ them a job. Flash news my friends! A job is not given to you, you must earn it. You must show that you would contribute or are contributing to solving a problem.

At the beginning of your career, you are expected to prove what you’re worth. Your worth to a company determines your salary. When you have demonstrated your character, discipline, work ethic and ambitions, I trust that the promotions will come. But, it’s not always the case. In some corporate culture, unfortunately you may not see any progress unless you voice it. So, it is important to take matters into your own hands.

The same goes for asking for a raise. Make sure you check out one of my previous articles, When and How To Ask for A Raise. This is a conversation that not many people are comfortable doing because talking about money isn’t always easy, especially when you’re asking more of it. It has to be done at the right time and appropriately. Let me emphasize, your performance will be a key factor in the final decision. Undoubtedly, being lazy won’t get you anything. But this is your career, and you deserve to be paid what you’re worth. After all, the worse thing they can say is no!

Switching jobs and / or industries.

I am certain that you have realized by now that you may end up building a career in an industry different than the one your major is related to. That’s ok; it’s the nature of our current professional environment. If you don’t move from one industry to the other, you will certainly switch jobs. Reasons for keeping your eyes open for other opportunities include better pay, corporate culture, opportunity for advancement and location. Whatever the reason is, there is one invariable: you. You can’t fake it at least not for long. Be authentic and do a good job and doors will be opened for you.

Time and PTO management and Workers’ compensation.

I envy educators for one thing: their summer breaks. For the rest of us, the option to take months off and still get paid is nonexistent. At the beginning of my career, my allotted PTO (Paid Time Off) was about ten working days. As I progressed, it increased. Initially, I did not care much about when I took time off. Eventually, taking PTO became tactical especially when I got married and had to manage time with both sides of the family. You will find that reserving enough time for holidays might be useful when you have to travel.

Working in finance, I am exposed to workers’ compensation issues and settlements quite often and this experience opened my eyes. We tend to overlook this subject but it is important to be knowledgeable about it. In the event that the unexpected happens, keep in your back pocket injury attorney options so that your finances are not destroyed. If you are not able to work, you’ll still need to pay your bills so it’s handy to know what to do in this situation.

Freelancing or diversifying your income

Let’s face it; most millennials are not set financially. A second income goes a long way for a lot of us. However, getting a second job is definitely not enticing. Freelancing or starting your own business on the contrary is what most employees want as a Gallup poll proved that 57% of Americans desire working for themselves. You will probably consider it too in your career. Freelancing on the side can be a good way to generate an extra income outside of your 9 to 5. In fact, it is recommended. To all my readers, I want to emphasize here the need for integrity. Stay away from appropriating your employer’s clients unethically. Work on your own time, use your own equipment and protect confidential information. If you decide to leave the company, you would want to be missed.

***This post may contain affiliate links.

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