Millennials & Ambition: 5 Things I Learned

As a millennial, I learned very quickly that ambition is the fuel for my career. Without it, I would have no choice other than to settle. I used to think that success was a direct correlation to automatic manifestation. Unfortunately it wasn't and I learned, from flying on airplanes, that everything is a process.

One of the things that is interesting about flying is the activities leading up to take off:

  • Board the plane
  • Get instructions on what to do in an emergency type situation
  • Turn devices to airplane mode
  • Dance around the runway
  • Takeoff

Theoretically, we all understand that they're things that need to be done before takeoff. A plane can't roll from the gate to the sky without going through the activities listed above. It's a PROCESS!!!

Dear Fellow Millennials,

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I get it...you want to be on top and conquer the world TODAY. But you can't! There are some activities that have to be done before you can get to your destination. In addition, views on millennials and ambition are not being received well by others in Corporate America. Which leads to road blocks, frustration and unhappiness in the workplace. Why is that? What are we missing? Here is my take on the matter:

  1. There is a huge lack of understanding of the other generations. A lot of millennials don't even know the descriptive factors of the other generations. Familiarize yourself with "who they are" so that you know "what you're working with." What are common tendencies with baby-boomers? How do Traditionalists think as it relates to work-life balance? Knowing this information will benefit you greatly when dealing with these individuals.

  • We aren't leveraging enough! What do I mean? Leverage what you can bring to the table against the need that's present within your organization. What's your organization's goal? What are some pressing issues you've heard about? Here's the thing, YOU ARE NEEDED!!!! Don't devalue your contribution to your respective organization just because you can't find your placement, yet. Every section within an organization are collectively working independently to uphold the mission of that organization. You have to be creative and explore the ways in which you can contribute. If all you want is to be told what to do and never take any initiative, then you don't have a dog in the fight as it relates to your future. Why? Because you're not in control of it!
  • Know your place and pay the "dues". So let me be the one to break the news to you: You can't be the CEO tomorrow. Not going to happen! Again, understand your placement in the organization. That position you are eyeing is probably occupied by a baby-boomer. But guess what? They're retiring soon. What are the skills you need to obtain so that you can slide into that position once you're eligible? Is there a junior position that you can possibly apply for to gain the necessary skills? That's the "dues"! Yes seniority, relationships and experience may all play a factor but your name can't even be tossed in the hat if you haven't been grinding on obtaining those skills. Without the skill-set, there isn't an argument!
  • Cautiously set expectations! Don't shape your expectations based solely on the money you wish to make. That will have you chasing every opportunity and like I said in my blog-post "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar"; you will eventually be known as a certified position hopper. 3 things: 1. Do some homework on the position you're trying to get. 2. Start studying the person in that position. 3. Develop a realistic plan.
  • Decide if you want to be an overnight sensation or a qualifying member. This goes back to point # 4 on expectations; we all can't be Mark Zuckerberg. But even Mark wasn't an overnight sensation. Depending on where you work, you need to become a qualifying member before you can truly takeoff. Think about your respective organization, how often have you seen an overnight sensation? If the answer to that question is "not much" then focus your energy on becoming that qualified member. To become a qualifying member you got to pay your dues [go back to point #3 ].
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    Ambition is a process--one in which you can't rush, but you can certainly be prepared if and when the right opportunity presents itself.