I read recently how a few consultants are charging companies $20,000 per hour to advise them on how to employ millennials. Pardon me for speaking frankly, but these businesses are getting a raw deal.
Maybe it's because I work for a media company, but nothing beats going directly to the source and getting to the bottom of things. As a young professional in his 20s, I decided to compile a few observations that I've made as a millennial and through my interactions with others my age.
These tips are meant to cut through the noise of career clichés offered in books written by people light years removed from their early days of climbing the corporate ladder. They are the results of trial and error, my own social experiments and research as a young professional.
#1 Craft a clear strategy for accomplishing your goals.
When I was a student, my professors paid attention to me, my work and my aspirations. They laid out a path forward through syllabi in class and helped me secure internships outside of it.
I thrived in this environment of constant encouragement, not realizing that when I entered the workforce this would change completely. Suddenly, my ideas were no longer "brilliant" and no one was particularly interested in what I had to share.
In the "real world," you are your own guide. That being said, build a support system - a network of people who get excited about your ideas. (I still keep in touch with many of my professors, not to mention my family and some of my past supervisors.)
Going alone is never the fastest way to the top, but you'll need a clear strategy for how to get there.
#2 Write down your goals.
Everyone says that you need goals in order to succeed. What they don't tell you is just how difficult it is to define them.
Unhappy in my first job as an economist, I decided to go back to square one and ask, "What made me happy as a child?" I sat down and mapped out potential careers, writing them down and trying to be as specific as possible.
Don't be afraid to dream - one study found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. And don't just take my word on it - Thomas Edison sold candy and newspapers before finding a calling in entrepreneurship.
#3 Find a creative outlet to enhance your overall performance.
Find a hobby if you don't already have one. They can enhance your creativity, help you think more clearly and sharpen your focus, according to Carol Kauffman, a professor in the Harvard Medical School.
Did you know that Tory Burch plays tennis, Marissa Mayer bakes cupcakes and Jack Dorsey studies flowers in their spare time? David Rockefeller, the former chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Corporation, collected beetles.
My hobby is to water paint. I sit at my desk at home and study my pet fish, Sushi, for inspiration. Then I draw different shapes and colors, an abstract exercise, until I enter a "zone." This helps me relax and be more creative in my workday tasks. (It also makes for sharing good stories at the office!)
Inspiration is the fuel for your career goal and now you know you have three simple steps to get started. What are you waiting for?
Share your stories in the comments!