As a rule of thumb, I tend to be absurdly busy. I am the kind of person who plans their calendar weeks in advance. So, it is no surprise that the question is often raised as how I function on a daily basis and more importantly, how (and why) I balance all of the “extras” in my life.
For Millennials, life is a lot like Rhianna’s song “Work”. We work all day long, and the rest you can’t really understand.
The Reality of It All. Growing up, I strongly believed that if I worked hard in school, got good grades, and graduated from college I would begin my career by age 22. Unfortunately, as you’ve seen in my previous posts, this was not the case.
I did graduate from college at 22 and was fortunate enough to have multiple internships prior to and during that period of my life. I was also fortunate to have a few “side projects” during my 3 year hiatus from the industry. Now, at 26, I have returned to the marketing world and have made a home for myself in the heart of Wilco’s Marketing Department.
Off the clock. “Moonlighting” (having a second job in addition to one’s regular employment) is extremely common in the Millennial generation, and I am no exception. You have your job, your side job, and about 5-10 outside “projects”. (See my projects here.)
Wake up at 4:15, hit the gym by 4:45, to work by 8, leave by 5, commence “extra” work by 5:20, and work until you’re done. This is the reality of life for Millennials in the Marketing/Advertising world.
Millennials need marketable skills in order to advance in today’s advertising industry. Adding to my skills and pursuing my passions are what make the projects worth the extra time and effort.
No substitutes. Someone once said that if you do what you love then you will never work a day in your life. Although this is a lovely notion, I believe that there is no alternative to hard work and determination. Contrary to popular belief, job retention rates for millennials is on the rise, averaging 13 months. In the world of advertising, you continue to progress, or you run the risk of being lost in the crowd. The industry is changing, and we are learning to adapt to these changes. We seek enrichment where we can find it, and often find that the opportunities lie both within and outside of our jobs.
Grow Right. That being said, I absolutely love my job at Wilco. I have am a part of an incredibly diverse team of individuals. Every day, I arrive at work wondering what I will learn. I have opportunities to grow and advance as an individual as well as a professional. This scenario appears to be an exception in my generation and I am thankful to work for a company that challenges me on a daily basis.
Building Better Employees. Remember that episode of Scrubs where Dr. Kelso bans moonlighting? There is a common misconception that moonlighting is a sign that the employee is unhappy at work. This all goes back to that “tool box” of skills we talked about. Millennials do not see moonlighting as a sign that we are unhappy, we simply want to add to our marketable skills and better ourselves. We are supplementing our careers with additional opportunities for enrichment, therefore making us better employees. It’s a win-win situation if you’re willing to do the work.
Finally: Finding Your Balance. This seems to be the most difficult component of the Millennial lifestyle. As I said earlier, we work, and the rest is difficult to understand. If you’re like me, it is easy to forget that it is okay to say “no” every now and again. Keeping a calendar, or a running list of projects and deadlines can be exceptionally helpful. While many of us enjoy our work and immerse ourselves (like me), remember to take a step away from your desk and spend time away from the screen when you can. You will return refocused and refreshed. Your only relationship should not be the one you have with your job. Not a people person? Grab a book or snag some quiet time. Take a few seconds each day to do something you enjoy.
Make yourself marketable and keep adding to your toolbox. Be interested and invested.
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