We are young professionals. Young is the operative word there and I will use it for as long as possible! Being coined as a young professional is exciting to me. I feel, as a young professional, that I am in a "new" stage in my career where I am continuously learning and gaining valuable work and life experiences.
Here's the thing, though, I want the money, achievements, status and lifestyle of the CEO's that I look up to in our community...and I want that now! There is one piece that I feel young professionals so often forget. That piece is that it took these successful, well-educated leaders a long time to get where they are today with the knowledge and respect they deserve. In a society of immediate gratification, we all want it now. I have been to college job fairs as a prospective employer looking for talent. True story: I asked a student what type of position they were looking for at the job fair. They told me they were looking for "management." Their experience entailed being a shift manager at the local video store. When asked the salary they were looking for, the student replied, "I am looking for around $73,000 - $75,000 in the first year." Bravo! Bravo to that student that had the guts to confidently share those expectations. Unfortunately, I think they are a little misguided in their post college expectation for the majority of positions available to someone with their experience.
I have recently gotten into the running world and completed a couple of races. Let's just say I have not come anywhere near the front of the race. That is not to say that I don't want to, because I do. I want to get a medal. Realistically, it's not going to happen this year, maybe not even next year. That is why I am comfortable saying "It's a marathon, not a sprint." As in leadership, it is going to take me longer to win that race. I have a lot to learn. I also have a lot to share with other young professionals and even insight to share with experienced leaders. You do too.
A professor once told me to be the best at whatever it is I decide to do. I could be a maintenance person or an astronaut, but my goal was to be the best. In case you weren't sure, I will win! I will get that medal...in running and in leadership. I'm okay with it taking a little longer, because when I get there, I will be the best at what I'm doing.
I'm curious, while starting your leadership experience, are there things that you thought to be true and turned out a little different than expected? I would love to hear your story.