The ’90s R&B group Tony Toni Tone recorded a song that comes to mind as my one-year “Parthaversary” comes around: “Do you know what today is? It’s our anniversary, anniversary.” As I listened to the rest of the tune, I’m was reminded that there’s a lot to reflect on over this past year. Being employed full-time with benefits is one of them.
I remember exactly where I was when I listened to the voicemail: in bed, fighting a terrible sinus infection from the change of weather between Memphis and Nashville (and all the other job-interviewing, traveling hoopla). I returned the call, left a message on my soon-to-be-new boss’ voicemail, and within a few minutes she called back to let me know they would like to make me an offer. Despite my stuffy head and hoarseness, I mustered up “Really!? Thank you!” in my most excited voice. I called out to see if my aunt was home to tell her “I got the job! I got the job!” Cue Brittany Murphy’s Little Black Book scene when she got her dream job to work with Diane Sawyer – and that was me.
One year later, sitting in this seat, I’ve learned quite a few lessons about the working world. Here are the four most important ones.
1. Exercise patience.
There are some things that never change, and needing patience is certainly one of them. Sometimes projects won’t come in with all the necessary information to get started, and things won’t go as planned all the time. You can’t have a mental breakdown (for my Type As out there). You have to make it work, getting around what’s missing and putting your best spin on it.
2. Never stop learning.
Post graduation, you never want to be engulfed in a textbook again, nor stressing over an exam. To be as great as you want to be, though, you have to devote time to educating yourself and learn at least one thing that you didn’t know yesterday. After all, that is our strong suit as Millennials – being in the know, being connected and being good at ongoing learning.
3. Trust the process.
Being a 20-something with quite a few accomplishments under her belt, I see the end goal on my life map and I want to sprint to it. “Why am I not doing this yet? When will I get to do that?” are the questions that plague my mind and make me feel like I’m not living up to my potential. In reality, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. The hardest thing about growing up and living the life you planned is letting go of the plan and just living, embracing the process one step at a time. Trust me: letting go ahead of time saves you from a quarter-life crisis and nights of lying in bed anxiety-stricken, staring at the ceiling.
4. Embrace your greatness already.
After school, but before I landed my job, the questions were, “Is it me? Am I good enough?” There is no other feeling greater than being accepted into the “club of adulthood” than a call to work in a field you’re passionate about, and for which you’ve been formally educated. If you’ve made it past the probationary period, or are coming upon your one-year anniversary, know that you are great enough. Pat yourself on the back. High-five and kiss the mirror each morning to show your gratitude. Progress shows growth, and not being where you were a year ago is proof that greatness is a process — and you’re already on the right track.