Important Career Questions Every Millennial Should Ask Themselves
By Courtney Connley
Finding a job right out of college that meets all of your career desires is no easy feat, and in many cases that ideal position doesn’t come until you’ve put a few years into your industry. However, settling for a position that brings you unhappiness, anxiety and stress in the name of collecting a paycheck is also not the way to go.
For a lot of recent college grads and early 20-something professionals, your eagerness to start working and adding professional accolades to your resume sometimes leads you to holding onto positions longer than you need to. Before exhausting yourself at a job that no longer serves you, be sure to ask yourself the below questions in order to help you stay the course of walking in your career purpose.
1. Am I getting paid industry standard?
Being overworked and underpaid is a trap that many young professionals fall into. Before accepting a position, look up the average salary for your job title on payscale.com to ensure that you aren’t low balling yourself when saying “yes” to a job. Starting your career with a below average salary can lead you down a long road of being underpaid. For example, when future employers ask for your current salary and you tell them a number lower than expected, then they may also feel inclined to take advantage of your talent and offer you a salary below the budgeted one for that position.
2. What are my short-term and long-term goals at this company?
Regardless of whether you’re at a job that you love or one that is used only as a means to get by, write down the goals that you hope to accomplish at that company. Every position is meant to serve a purpose in your professional life and you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of working that position towards your greater goals.
3. Am I moving in a way that helps to expand my network?
Many times when we’re the new person on a team or the youngest person at a company we’re shy about expanding our network and talking to people who aren’t in our immediate circle of contacts. No, there is nothing wrong with staying focused and putting your head down to get the job done, but sometimes you need to step away from your desk and introduce yourself to other people in your office who may not be within your department. Also, don’t be afraid to attend out-of-office company events or ask that one person on the job you admire from afar out for lunch. You will learn in your career that sometimes the contacts you hold will take your further than the talent you posses.
4. Do I feel valued at this company?
Millennials often get a bad reputation of feeling entitled and not wanting to put in the real work that’s needed before reaping rewards. While this notion may be true for some young professionals, it definitely doesn’t mirror the mindset of all and thus you should not feel like you have to be tied to a company if you’re feeling overworked, underappreciated and see no potential for growth. Yes, your first position after college will be entry-level and you may have to do the same tasks that the intern next to you is doing and that’s completely fine. Just make sure that you have a clear understanding of the value you bring to the company and that your potential for growth is recognized.
5. Am I happy?
While this may seem like a simple question it’s one that is often ignored by professionals of all career levels. Many people don’t realize how the unhappiness you experience at work can easily spill over to other areas of your life and affect your mood towards friends, family members and even alter your outlook on life all together. Make sure to ask yourself often if the current job you hold is making you happy. Not everyday will be perfect, but even your tough days should still make you feel like you’re working towards your purpose.
Courtney Connley is a writer, editor and digital journalist with a sweet spot for storytelling and helping millennials win in the workplace and in life. She considers brunching to be a full-time hobby and enjoys anything that involves avocado or a good book. You can stay up-to-date with her latest work at courtneyconnley.com and follow her latest happenings on social media @classicalycourt.