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Five Career Tips for Millennials
Millennials and the many who can still call themselves young without raising eyebrows believe in following their passions, in finding meaning in their work and in welcoming change rather than rejecting it.
With that in mind, here are the five principles to always keep in mind when looking for that perfect job:
1. Be Passionate. Northwell Health, where I’m chief people officer, is a big organization, employing more than 61,000 people. We have all sorts of people working with us, but more and more these days, we see applicants coming from tech or finance firms. These young men and women understand that a “cool” job - the kind that inspires screenwriters to dream up slick movies or hilarious shows on HBO - can only give them so much satisfaction. They've realized that they're much more likely to find meaning and joy in a job about which they are passionate, one that involves helping people feel better and do better.
So don't ask yourself only the obvious questions - how much does a job pay, say, or what are the hours - but also the harder ones. Would your career make a difference in people’s lives? Would it help you wake up every morning feeling grateful? If the answer is no, then you might want to look elsewhere.
2. Be Curious. I work with a lot of smart people who spend their days doing unbelievable things like curing diseases and saving lives, so I'm a bit of an authority on what makes really accomplished and deeply intelligent people tick. The one thing they have in common is this: they’re curious.
No matter how celebrated they are, or how well-compensated, the best of the best are always hungry to know more, and they’re clever enough to realize you can learn from anything and from anyone. So whether it’s taking the time to research that company that’s interviewing you for a job next week or opening yourself up to learning about new industries and occupations you never really thought about, curiosity is a key to success.
3. Be Clear. Hollywood movies often portray the office - or hospital - as a place where there’s a hidden agenda and silence is golden. In real life the opposite is often true. In not wanting to draw attention to ourselves, or in being too anxious or too insecure, we fail to speak our minds and say what is it we really want.
It's a pity because, as anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of overseeing a human resources department will tell you, clarity is often the best policy. Say precisely what it is you'd like, and you may very well get it. Keep quiet about it, and that project or promotion will never go your way.
4. Be Part of a Team. Whether you’re in the semiconductor industry, run a shipping company or work at a potato chip factory, it doesn’t matter - your business is always first and foremost about people. People are always at their best when they’re feeling respected, which means that companies benefit from simply being mindful of others.
Sadly, this isn’t obvious to many of us, and too many are focused primarily on ourselves, our responsibilities and our opportunities. Taking a few minutes in the beginning and end of each day to think about your team and how to be more supportive of them can make life in the office not only more productive, but also much more pleasant.
5. Be You. That's not just a Hallmark card sentiment - it's the only bit of business advice truly worth contemplating. Others around you may inspire you with their success, their smarts, their resourcefulness or their style, but emulating them is never the answer.
A career, at least the kind worth having, is about finding out who you are, what you like to do, and what you’re good at, and then learning how to do just that as well as you possibly can. So if you’re confused about what path to take, then your gut is the best guide you have.
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