The first time I was introduced to the idea of 'Gen Zs, Millennials, Boomers and these various segmentations of people and generations was in 2018. I was meant to work on a group presentation for a Human Resource Management (HRM) course as part of my degree. Amongst the many different contemporary issues currently facing HRM, the differences in generations was something I was particularly interested in. I was curious to find out more about whether these 'segments' had anything substantially different between each other than the classification itself of being 'millennial', and 'Gen X'. Whilst our presentation primarily focused on the characteristics of these generations and how their effects in the business landscape; my interest in the general topic remained after the course as well. I wanted to find out more about how much truth there really was to all the stereotypes people typically attach to these generations.
Every year, every university around the world introduces a batch of fresh new graduates, waiting to leave the bounds of a classroom and a campus to begin pursuing their dreams. Some choose to work for a private company, some choose to pursue their own venture. Some even choose to take some time off, and some are still deciding. Regardless of where you, me or any of us are in our journey, knowing a little bit about what goes on inside an organisation can be quite helpful. We may find that all the expectations we have about a certain job or company, may in fact be far from the truth. Either way, having insight from someone who has been in and out of the corporate world definitely trumps the notorious stereotypes found on the internet.
To expand on this topic, I invited Terry McDougall on the show. Terry worked as a long time Marketing Executive with a large national bank before becoming a full time coach and entrepreneur in 2017. She has coached a number of high earning salespeople throughout her career, and works with high achieving business owners and corporates to help them increase the overlap between professional success and personal happiness. She is also the author of the book titled 'Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on your own terms', and is the host of the podcast called 'Marketing Mambo.'
Innovation breeds Competition
Being successful in today's day and age can best be described as something that's both easy, as well as difficult. On one hand, we have several career options for people to choose from, many of them having sub-categories for specialisation as well. About 20-25 years ago, the internet was not nearly as developed and widespread as it is today. Naturally, the most sought after professions were those of being doctors, lawyers and engineers. Nowadays, people can become successful through social media (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok), through music, art, sports, business, science, etc. One would think, that anyone can be famous and successful these days.
Conversely, our increase in population, education and accessibility to resources has meant that everyone is trying for something. Competition breeds innovation, both on the producer side as well as the consumer side. Many believe that social media is started to become saturated, with every other person busy trying to develop their own personal profile. There's a market for everything, and so there are consumers for everything. So how does the corporate world enter the picture in this case?
"It's scary. If you've being doing something for a long time, it was hard to make that transition to think about betting on myself. It's different when you have your own business. It was a gradual process, which began when I decided to leave the job I wasn't happy with. I started off with Marketing Consultant, but when you're a consultant, your clients have most of the power. At first, I went with a coach training program with a couple of clients on the side. With that program, I was with 40 other people in a cohort with me, and many of them either already had a business or were considering starting one. I guess that entrepreneurial spirit was contagious. I thought to myself, if they can do it, I can too. I found that you have a lot of room to manoeuvre, many different paths you can take. Things don't happen as quickly as you'd like them to, and so persistence is important."
It's fun to think about having a business, doing something you love and making a career out of it. Putting it all into action however is a whole different ball game. If only it was as simple as a 'Just Do It' sign. Multiple factors need to be considered such as what you'll need to give up in order to pursue this. Or, how much time, money and effort you're willing and able to devote to the business. Sometimes, starting something good merely comes down to being at the right place at the right time. After that, everything else is downhill if you play your cards right.
The Value of Networking
When it comes to applying for jobs, most of us would opt for the traditional routes of going on LinkedIn or online application portals where we can submit our application within minutes. The key point to note here however, is that 90% of applicants would be going for this approach, and companies know what to expect with these applications. Some might make it ahead, most would probably not. If you're lucky, you might be able to submit a resume as well as a cover letter, but many application processes only allow for the former, not the latter. Granted, many companies prefer this kind of an approach because it makes their recruitment process easier and manageable; but for us applicants, it doesn't hurt to try something different and see how it goes.
"It's important to understand that companies don't hire people, people hire people. People inside organisations who have the decision making authority can cut through the red tape, and create positions if need be. I've had clients who've gotten jobs, just by networking. Sometimes you might have to do something different, like network or volunteer because you never know who you might meet. You could come across a business owner or a recruiter at an organisation you're interested in. People know people, and once people get to know you, they might see something in you that could be of value to them. Something that you might not even see in yourself.
People hire people. It's easy to get caught up with the traditional approaches of applying via LinkedIn or online platforms because of how easy they are. However, if we switch our lens and look at it from the recruiter's point of view, they're probably looking for the easiest way to solve their problem as well; which is to find the best fit for their job. If we can make that task easier for them by networking, it's like solving a problem without them having to go through the tedious process of looking at a resume, organising an interview, assessment centres, etc. That's not to say that we can land a job in one meeting at an event, but it certainly helps set us apart from everyone else who's following the norm. For more information on applying for a job you're not qualified for, check out another one of our blog posts here.
Happiness & Success at work
'Happiness' can mean different things to different people. The way I see it, happiness can be tricky to find if we actively look for it. It isn't exactly the most tangible of things that we can identify and absorb into our lives. For many of us, happiness and being fulfilled is the main goal and what we want out of life. How we attain can depend on how we choose to spend our life, whether that's working in a job we love or surrounding ourselves with friends and family. It's no surprise that the key to being satisfied and fulfilled with work is to find what we love and stick with it. That way, it won't feel like 'work' and we'll end up enjoying it in the process. Easier said than done, but worth it in the end.
"I believe that everybody knows deep down, what makes them happy. If someone says that they don't know, it could often be because of a defence mechanism kicking in to prevent them from consciously recognising it. The fear of doing something different like travelling, quitting your job, becoming an artist or a stand-up comedian can hinder many people. Or, they could tell you what they want, but follow up with reasons why they can't have it. A degree, a restriction, excuses why they can't take action. It's important to separate the two because you deserve to let your dreams and desires to live. Start with baby steps and plan a roadmap. It's not always the case of taking a giant leap or doing something drastic. Do what you're currently doing but on the side, try your hand at what could make you happy and see how you go."
Doing something different can definitely be daunting, especially when we don't have anything to fall back on. Things are usually not cut out to be black and white, where decisions can be made like a flip of a switch. However, incremental changes in the hope of attaining something bigger in the long run can in fact prove to be beneficial. The 1% rule of making little changes that add up over the course of a long period of time is true in pretty much every aspect of life.
Nothing is perfect, and no decision will come without pros and cons. But sometimes figuring out what we don't want to do, can ultimately help us figure out what we do wanna do.
I'd like to offer my sincere gratitude to today's guest- Terry McDougall. Check out:
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