When I graduated from college, I thought, “I made it!” I landed a job with a Fortune 100 company in Minneapolis working in their community relations division. I remember taking the elevator up to the 28th floor, then navigating the cubicles to find mine among hundreds of others. Very quickly I realized that it wasn’t what I expected…at all.
At that time, I found the culture to be “cut-throat”, and I struggled with the disingenuous culture of the company. I told myself, I “should” like this, though. This is what they taught us in college. Go out, get a job with one of the big corporations and climb the ladder. What do I do now?
More than 20 years later, my career has included starting a global division within a company, creating a business that is now a successful nonprofit, starting my own business, leading high-performing teams and positively impacting our communities through funding and volunteerism strategies. Does that sound anything like “get a job at a big company and climb the ladder”? Thankfully, no.
In 2020, I lost my position due to the impact from COVID-19. I had that lurking feeling from my 20s: “What am I going to do now?” I am pleased to report that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I wanted a challenging part-time position that still allowed me time to do my business SheTaxi, and low and behold, here I am. Partnering with Emily and Rochester Women’s Magazine is the icing on the cake.
We all have our own paths, and they can look very different from each other. Do what works for you, and the minute you think, “I ‘should’ be doing this,” stop, listen to your heart and trust your gut. Your journey
is yours; own it.
Get your “workin’ gals” questions answered…
I work from home permanently now and used to love my job. I really miss the socializing at the office and getting out of the house. I don’t know what to do as it seems like nothing is a guarantee of where you’ll work anymore. – Michelle, Rochester
The pandemic has forced us to adapt to living differently, and you’re right—there’s no guarantee that people will return to offices. I suggest you make an effort to connect with people as many days of the week that you can. Meet a friend for lunch or coffee, attend a networking event, join a group fitness class and schedule “fun” time with your coworkers. Just because you’re home-based doesn’t mean that you can’t still meet for lunch, coffee or happy hour. Focus on how you can now connect with others, instead of the limitations that are in place, and be honest about your struggle. I’m quite certain there are a lot of people feeling the same way.
Do I have to buy my boss and coworkers holiday gifts? – Jo, Byron
Ah, the holidays and the unneeded stress and pressures that come along with it. No, you do not need to give a gift to your boss or coworkers. I think managers are responsible for setting expectations around the holidays. I’m a big fan of team celebrations, like a potluck or white elephant gift exchange with a set price point. Volunteering as a team is also a great way to honor the season. When in doubt, ask your manager for some direction and be honest about your perspective.
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