Dear Young Professional,
Here you are, finally living the much coveted and cherished ‘independent’ life you have been waiting for, through years of school and maybe somewhat more rebellious years of college. How does it feel? Are you giddy with excitement, or surprised because you did not expect to feel indifferent, of all things. Any which way, welcome to the world of ‘adulting’, as we millennials put it, and, to the world of work.
The unfortunate part about being a young professional in the world of work today, is that we have been groomed, and taught to believe and act according to the knowledge that the said world “expects” professionals who have just graduated to come with a load of experience, skills and a ‘win the world’ personality. To some extent, this is not entirely misplaced. To a large extent, it is. Being a young professional in the world of work today is much harder than it ever was because of the debilitating (the word ‘stiff’ won’t describe it half as well) competition we have been brought up to strive through, thrive through. Right from school, words and phrases like ‘rat race’ have been highlighted in fluorescent markers in the dictionary of our memories. As a result, anything short of excellence, anything short of being the ‘best’ seems to be getting asked to move on.
In your strive to ‘fit in’ to the mold of perfection which has been your shadow since the first time a parent may have told you, “…but why not better?”, try not to forget who you really are. Like Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.” It feels good to look back, every now and then and realize that you have come a long way and have only just started. Instead of getting bogged down by what we millennials call ‘adulting’, try and find joy in this journey of yours – which has only just started – the best part of being free and independent to discover yourself through what you choose to do. To stop and pause, and process, is something each one of us owes ourselves. If not for this, we might well be machines – doing just the right amount of thinking we are “wired” to do. While many parts of this journey might scare you and force you to look at things in a certain way that may make you uncomfortable, after have also been trained about which perspective is ‘right’ and which is ‘wrong’, take it as it comes. You may discover that what you once thought was ‘wrong’ is indeed just another shade of gray – not necessarily right or wrong.
Away from cut-offs, placement talks and placement drives, CGPAs and CV designs, welcome to a very real world – defined maybe by all these aspects, but it is really up to you to open your eyes and look beyond them into a horizon of very many possibilities. This really is a space which gives you the freedom and space to unlearn everything so you may learn again. The true learnings are in fact those that disintegrate and come together, forming the atoms that make you up. It is through your work, the space and the people that you now spend a greater portion of your time with that will begin to be central to this new journey of yours. And indeed, it is important to look beyond projects and deadlines, promotions and packages, meetings and partnerships, and build relationships that have more to them than just opportunities.
Seeking mentors, being fearless, taking risks (calculated ones!), being prudent, being foolish, working hard, learning to live, but most of all learning to be in the moment, to be happy in the now and finding joy in the beautiful journey of growth is what the world of work could be all about. Only if we choose to make it that way.
A Young Professional on a Beautiful Journey of Learning and Growth.