Things have been crazy with work and life… I'm sorry that I haven't been as active on the blog or social media. But I promise when things get less crazy I'll be back to my Monday and Thursday posting!
So, as you all know (maybe, possibly), I accepted a position two weeks ago at a phenomenal nonprofit organization in Texas and New Mexico. Although I had positions in nonprofit development and marketing before (I was a development assistant and a development associate in college) this position was special. It was different and it was extra exciting and challenging because well, it's my first senior staff position. And not to toot my own horn, but that's pretty awesome for a twenty two year old.
It was the biggest career step that I've ever taken in my life and one that I honestly have worked incredibly hard for. I remember working for my first nonprofit and literally BEGGING my boss to let me do development work because I was so interested and curious. In each and every position I have had in development and marketing I've gained more and more responsibilities and more knowledge. And not to be so cliche but, started at the bottom now we here.
And after my first week, boy… have I learned a lot. I decided to write this post because not only do I hope it's helpful but it's something fun to reflect on.
I'll always be learning new things and having new experiences, but here's what I have so far, after the first week:
- You are not supposed to know everything right off the bat, and no one expects you to. You get hired because of your experience, but also because of your potential. When you start a new job, no one expects you to know every single thing and it's totally okay not to. I'm not saying that it's okay to know nothing (because it's not… especially if this job requires experience), but you're definitely not going to be the master at your job right when you start. You have to learn things.
- It's perfectly okay to ask questions. I ask a lot of questions because I want the expectations to be perfectly clear. Don't just assume things if you're unsure, always ask questions and make sure you're on the same page. Pretty much every boss would rather have their employees ask questions and check, rather than make terrible mistakes. And like I said before… you're not supposed to know everything right off the bat.
- Know that you earned and deserved this. You interviewed for this job and they chose YOU out of all other applications. You worked hard for this job and earned it… don't forget that.
- Always make good first impressions. You don't want to be perceived as that weird person that somehow got hired. Be kind, be grateful, and remember that you learn something from everyone you meet. Especially in the workplace!
- Your age is not a disadvantage. I was so nervous about being the youngest person, not only on senior/executive staff, but in the whole organization. Yup, I'm even younger than the support staff and interns. I've had positions before that have treated my age as a disadvantage or a gauge of my value. I quickly learned at my new job that my age is admittedly a part of me, but in a positive way. I've had coworkers tell me that I'm innovative, creative and fresh. And that I have a lot of experience for my age.
- You have to really love your career. This was a given before, but I really love my job and what I do. Now that it's my full-time job to work in development and marketing for this great nonprofit, there isn't a day that I'm not grateful to be in this position.
- Not everyone is going to know what your role is in the organization. There are so many individuals and departments where I work, that a lot of people don't fully understand that our development and marketing department is critical. And some people don't know what exactly my role does. This isn't something that happens instantaneously, but something that people learn over time. As long as they know you're a team player, it's fine.
- Even after you graduate college people will still try to compare you with others. Did I need to know that guy I took Biology with is an engineer? Good for him, but not really. This career is yours, and the success is yours. There is no one you should be comparing yourself to besides your past self. And I am incredibly amazed by the growth and progress that I've made.
- People will always ask you about salary. I think it's super awkward and something that's rude to ask others, but not many people share my sentiment.
- Professional work clothes don't have pockets. You guys laugh, but I'm so serious about this one. I was SHOOK when I realized that my pants had no pockets, and neither did my blazers.
This is admittedly going to be a crazy few weeks to transition into my new job but I honestly can't wait. It's an exciting adventure and I honestly can't wait to learn more. It's just the beginning… and I promise I'll update you all as things continue to unfold.
“You can have unbelievable intelligence, you can have connections, you can have opportunities fall out of the sky. But in the end, hard work is the true, enduring characteristic of successful people.”
What's something you've learned recently?