My First "Big-Kid" Job


2016 was a big one for me. After attending school for 16 years, I finally reached the end of the line by achieving my bachelor’s degree in public relations. It was a weird feeling. I was so accustomed to a specific schedule and way of life that the transition from junior high to high school, and high school to college, was easy to master. Like a video game, I’d level-up year after year. Graduation day arrived and the looming question, “what next?” tapped my shoulder.

Fast-forward to today. I am nearing my six-month mark at RPA Advertising. I have the privilege of being an account-person for Honda.  I worked hard for this! See, in school it’s easy to understand what the end goal is. The degree. The post-grad job. Leaving college and moving to a brand new city. When you thrive in the classroom, it’s easy to envision success. Ask questions. Show up. Turn in your homework. Be enthusiastic!

So how does one thrive in the workplace? In the weeks following my start date, I struggled to conceptualize my next steps to success. I got the job. But now what? What does it look like to be a superstar at work? What is my next goal?

The beginning of the new year—obviously—is the perfect time to make those (reachable) New Year’s Resolutions. I’m a sucker for these. I also have a poor track record when it comes to sticking with them. You know that whole saying about how Rome-wasn’t-built-in-a-day-and-so-you-can’t-just-automatically-transform-in-this-world-renowned-advertising-genius-superstar? This year, I’m trying something different called “baby steps.” My resolutions are small tasks that will aide in my continuous professional development. One of these is to take time every Sunday night to reflect on the previous work week. (By Friday evening I’m knee-deep in weekend mode). In doing so, my hope is that I’ll become more proactive in the steps to becoming a successful account person.

I’m nowhere near having it all figured out (as much as I like to think so), but I’m beginning to realize how important it is to treat my career as an extension of my education rather than as separate entities. It’s still necessary to ask questions. You still need to meet deadlines. You’re still allowed to get confused! I always assumed graduation meant closing one door and opening another. Maybe thriving in the workplace really just means building on the progress we’ve already worked so hard to achieve. We have to remember why we started, and work hard in the present to pave the way for the future.