What It’s Really Like Being a Young Professional


Josh and I were connected through the Greenville Chamber Young Professionals group, Pacesetters. You've actually heard from some other YoPros in that group (shout-out to Grace), but Josh and I have stayed connected as well. I love his take on what it really is like to be a YoPro because it is refreshing for both YoPros and Experienced Pros alike.


 

What is it like being a young professional?


Being a young professional means approaching others with solutions you don’t know will work, but you’ve established enough context around the situation to believe it will. It’s taking the risk of making the decision no one else will because you believe in it.


Coming out of high school or college, there exists an ignorance that threatens one’s security in who they are. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I first joined corporate America trying to hide that very fact. I feared making a mistake and failing quickly.


When I graduated and my security blanket of “if I fail, this won’t have a major consequence” was quickly removed, I panicked. It wasn’t until I was sitting there at my first job out of college wondering why I was there. I had thought that was the plan: go to school, graduate, get a job. There was a company willing to hire me and I began to receive tasks that I didn’t see as a challenge.


It then dawned on me that I could either sit here and take these tasks, or I could take one step further and seek out more ways to become involved. Here are some things I learned along the way once I had this realization:


  • I watched what colleagues did by reviewing their data and metrics. I discovered how they were performing and failing. I was finding the challenges that excited me, as opposed to waiting for them to find me.

  • I watched how others learned from their mistakes to improve myself and overall business around me.

It is okay to fail as long as you get right back up, accepting the mistakes made and finding a new solution to keep moving forward.
  • If you do fail, it's okay to allow your leader or colleagues help bail you out. The company willing to hire me did not give me more authority than what they had trusted me with. Should I fail, the size of that failure was already determined by the responsibilities handed to me. I successfully replaced my security blanket with trust from my leaders.

Another aspect of being a young professional is the “young” portion. It is so easy to get caught up in “I have to complete (insert milestone here) before (insert age here).” While I still fall victim to this type of thinking, it is comforting to remind myself I am where I am supposed to be, because that is where I followed. I find myself rejecting who I am as I have the ability to get consumed by a reality I didn’t know I was supposed to be in. Getting wrapped up in social media posts, comparing myself to others and where they are in their journey, and even talking about life with coworkers has the power to diminish the accomplishments made thus far.


Sitting in the moment, enjoying even the smallest of wins, or mourning the biggest loses with those around me, strengthens the reality I live in. It encourages the story I’m making and establishes a concrete version of me I live with.


There isn’t an exact science of how to approach being a young professional, which is essentially what it means to be a young professional. There isn’t any one way to do it because of who we are as individuals.

Moral of the story? Be young, and don’t overthink being a professional.


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