Half a year working sure sounds like a long time for this post-grad, but it’s really not in the grand scheme of a career, is it? A number of changes happen around the six month mark.
My thoughts toward this consulting job have gradually evolved in this time, and can safely say the adjustment process is at work and I’ve felt much more positive lately.
- Nothing about the job changes, but your attitude does. Used to way guilty of outwardly smiling and nodding but mentally complaining all the way through. Now I try to complain less to myself, because even if it's internal, it drags you down. This makes a world of difference.
- It takes a while to warm up to people and to feel valued as part of a group and it’s no different at work than in social settings. Getting to understand people’s work styles and what they respond to is nearly just as important as getting normed into the actual work.
- The ego gets better at taking hits. Sure, it sounds pretentious but it's so important. I was no good at taking criticism in general and even less so at work starting off. Starting from the bottom was humbling.
- Your body gets more used to the physical routine. Weekday nights are no longer for late night chats going into 1-2am and waking up early gets easier. The hanger is also more controlled - used to be ravenous way before lunch rolled around, out of a snacking lifestyle habit #corporatelife #nofreefood
- The actual work makes more sense. When it comes to different analyses and such, you at least know where to start looking for data and what approach to take. You’re more comfortable knowing who and when to ask for help. The big picture perspective is also clearer, which helps a lot.
To borrow Tony’s framework:
(1) Apply effort to increase the rate of learning, which compounds to a huge dividend over a lifetime. It is an asset which maintains a high level of return on investment year after year. Not learning is like holding cash, which loses value over time due to inflation.
Check, most of the time. Certainly learning new skills and methods of analysis. The nagging question is whether this learning is directionally aligned with where I want to end up. Unclear how soon this becomes crucial. I.e. Not as important in your first year of work vs. would be a mistake to learn skills for a role you don't want to take on if your're 10 years into your career.
(2) Being uncomfortable with what I am doing. If I am comfortable, then I am probably not taking any risk. No risk = no reward.
Check. There remains territory I just don't feel particularly well versed in and when I'm asked to delve into it or speak on it, I get nervous. Taking this as a good sign of being uncomfortable.
(3) Being a generalist over a specialist. Instead of specializing, I prefer a being a generalist with a broad set of skills and knowledge.
Check. It's consulting, so can't ask for more of a generalist training than this.
Above all, something I'd like to work on is being intentional with every day, even as a very junior person. That and being patient while staying proactive.