10 things I wish I knew before my first full-time job

I’m excited to be published in RELEVANT Magazine! Here’s an excerpt of my article:

Navigating the workforce as a millennial today is tricky. Not only is the economy still in recovery mode, but satirical YouTube videos like the Millennials in the Workplace Training Video prove our reputation is working against us.

Millennials have high standards and expectations. We don’t necessarily want to take the first or highest paying job that comes our way. We want meaningful and fulfilling work.

As the school year comes to a close, 2014 graduates enter an uncertain time. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before my first full-time job that your campus career center won’t tell you.

1. You Can’t Be Anything You Want To Be.

Most of us were probably told as kids, “If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want to be.” Well, it’s a big fat lie.

But wait, this is good news! God created us all differently. He gave you a unique set of skills and interests that cannot be duplicated. You can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be everything you’re meant to be.

2. Everyone Else is Winging It Just Like You.

In your first job, you may have moments when you feel like a fraud because you’re making it up as you go. But don’t be fooled. Most learning is done on the job. Take your challenges humbly and confidently, and remember you’re not the only one who feels like they don’t know what they’re doing.

3. Mission Fit Matters More Than Job Fit.

Forty plus hours per week is a lot of time to spend working toward a mission you don’t believe in. Employers would rather hire someone who is enthusiastic about the mission of the organization but needs skills training over someone who has the perfect resume but isn’t mission-aligned.

While job hunting, the most important question you can ask yourself is, “Am I passionate about the mission of this organization?” Working in an environment where everyone shares the same goal is crucial for the organization’s success and your personal fulfillment.

4. Live to Work, But the Right Way.

It’s the age-old debate: Should we work to live or live to work? Some see their work as a toilsome means to make a living while others idolize their careers. But neither perspective exemplifies a sound theology of work.

Work isn’t a curse, but a gift God gave us before the fall. God created us to work. Of course, this doesn’t mean making work the center of your life, but rather recognizing that your work has eternal significance. When we view our work as a tool God gave us to fulfill the cultural mandate so that we might flourish, “living to work” takes on a much deeper, theological meaning.

5. Staying Late is Overrated.

Everyone knows someone who brags about how late he or she stayed in the office the previous night. Don’t let this person trick you into thinking you should do the same. Your job is about long-term value creation, not about how many hours you spend in the office.

Sometimes you will have to stay late to get your job done, but it’s important to set a good liturgy of life. If you’re overloaded, don’t be afraid to ask your boss to take something off your plate. Be a good steward of your time at work and remember that time spent away from work can actually make you more productive at work.

Read more at RELEVANT.

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