The millennial generation is often criticized for being lazy, self-centred and lacking foresight. At times I agree with this statement but generally, I think millennials are really just misunderstood. Our way of doing things is different. We don’t like being told what to do. We believe the system is broken. And we all want to work for ourselves. These are of course, sweeping generalizations but to sum it up, our generation is about creating change and starting something that we can call our own.
So how do we build a career, whether it be as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur (See my article on intrapreneurship for more details) when the odds seem stacked up against us? I believe it’s about bringing your most creative ideas and a pragmatic approach to building your career.
Here are 5 key ideas that I’ve learned through my experience that will help you get ahead in your career.
1) Think beyond yourself
This may sound like spiritual wisdom but it’s really practical. What I really mean by this is to look big picture. Every day, what are you doing to advance your company, your investors, your projects, your peers? How are you adding value? When you start thinking beyond yourself, you see how you role impacts the world around you. Direct your energy towards making the lives of the people around you (i.e. bosses, stakeholders, and investors) easier and you will reap tremendous benefits.
2) The details do matter
I always use to joke that I was an “ideas” guy and my job was to figure out the vision and other people could figure out how to make it happen. I’ve realized through executing my own ideas that this simply isn’t true. The person developing the idea has to understand the mechanics and details of how it comes to life just as well as the person executing. In order to lead and direct the person executing the idea, they need to understand how it is grounded in reality.
3) Watch trends. Read industry news. Stay relevant.
Find out what’s happening in your industry on a daily basis. Check popular media news sites, blogs, thought leaders and begin to analyze how your industry is changing. This will not only allow you to gather information on how you or your company can perform better but will also be a great conversation starter.
4) Grow your network purposefully
I’ve always been a big champion of networking. I don’t mean just going to events, have a drink in hand and try to mingle. I mean purposefully developing connections who might need your help or might be able to help you with something. And even if it’s somebody who simply has a different perspective than you, you’ll find these people highly valuable in the future.
5) Look to the future
See how your job is evolving with your industry. Identify the skills and experience you’ll need not only to advance within your own company but also to advance in your industry. Is it coding skills? UX design? New management philosophies? Future proof your career by understanding how your job will need to change as the world demands new talent with better skills.