Throughout our lives we encounter many important milestones into adulthood. During this time we learn how to drive, we move to college, we buy our first “professional outfit” off the sale rack at Macy’s. And, most importantly, we find out that we cannot live on Totino’s pizza rolls alone.
But then you get to the day where you can wear that 19 dollar pant suit to an actual office job. It doesn’t fit perfectly, but that’s okay, because you somehow managed to escape the uniform of that awful minimum wage fast food restaurant.
For me, that moment happened a year ago today.
After working at Tell Them for a year, I’ve managed to learn some awesome things about myself and about reproductive health advocacy. In fact, here are the top 3 things that I’ve pulled out of my first year.
1. You don’t have to hate your job.
Since working retail and food industry jobs since I was 15, I’ve never associated the word job with “fun” or “fulfilling”. After working for an organization I care about, I crave the daily sense of accomplishment I receive when I’m actively working towards impacting my community. Be unapologetic in doing the things that make you happy.
2. You can easily learn more on the job then in a classroom.
Tell Them has done a fantastic job of teaching me how to be a successful leader in public health. No matter how low I am on the totem pole, the team has always kept me involved in the action and has allowed me to expand my skillset. I’ve honestly learned more here than in a majority of college courses.
3. Never be ashamed of your age.
In a lot of jobs I’ve always felt weird about being the “young one” or the “newbie” or the “intern.” But this is such a huge mistake. You are not a number; you are the ideas and the drive that have been developed within that number of years. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion. While I’ve always respected and listened to the opinions of my supervisors, I’ve also learned a lot through cultivating my own ideas. You are a young professional, own it!
To my fellow young professionals, make sure you take the time to reflect on this crazy journey into the real world. These truly are the years that you will remember when you’re 80 years old and rocking on a porch somewhere. Be fun, be hard working, and be unstoppable.