The Fears Young Hires and Employers Face
I just spoke to a bank executive who orients new, young employees at her branch. As we discussed the chasm grads must jump from the familiar “classroom” to the unfamiliar “workroom,” she smiled and told me about a recent orientation where a new, 22-year-old employee raised her hand and asked:
“When is spring break?”
Starting a career can be one of the scariest of ventures for a recent graduate. Just ask Melanie. One month after receiving her diploma from her university, she found herself in a job interview. She’d never experienced an interview or a job until then — all expenses had been covered by her parents, and her schedules in high school and college were far too busy to hold down a job. For Melanie, work was about writing papers and taking tests. She was scared.
I met her at Starbucks to converse about her career, and she articulated her fears:
- I know I’m good at school, but do I have what it takes to succeed at a job?
- How do I communicate my value to an employer without seeming arrogant?
- What do I do when I’m clueless and too afraid to talk to my supervisor?
- What do I do early on to put some “wins” under my belt?
Interestingly, I told Melanie that supervisors also have fears. Their fears surround the unknowns of hiring a recent graduate without any experience:
- How do I know they’re going to stay long enough to be worth my time?
- Why do they think and act so differently, and how can I connect with them?
- Will they engage and be able to adjust to an eight-hour workday?
- What impact will this twenty-something have on our current culture?
Transitions are Key
Just ask a relay race team. Just ask a bridge builder. Just ask a caterpillar. Moving from one place to another, from one stage to another, can be unsettling. Transitions are the most probable places for dropped balls, missteps, or bad starts. But one thing is for sure — they are a part of life and work. According to a recent report by the Harvard Business Review:
- 63 percent of respondents were in a period of transition, and possibly ready to make changes in their jobs and careers.
- 22 percent were currently entering a period of transition.
In his book The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins writes, “Research has shown that what you do in the first few months on the job will determine whether you achieve success or failure.” Hmmm. It’s the first 90 days that set the trajectory.
This is why we created and released a resource called Habitudes For New Professionals. If you’re unfamiliar, Habitudes are images that form leadership habits and attitudes. The thirteen images in this book represent timeless principles young professionals can practice to succeed in the workplace.
These transition periods are also why we released Habitudes for the Journey. The images in this book represent travel metaphors that equip young adults to practice healthy habits and attitudes in times of transition.
Kristen Armstrong sums it up best: “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.”
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