It’s mind-blowing when I think about how this time last year I was scraping my minimum wage checks together just to get a bus ticket for my “leap of faith” trip to New York City.
The goal: to make connections and meet up with a few people living in the city who I had been in contact with since starting my journey to get to NY.
At the time, I was bordering hopelessness and optimism in a strange dance of interpersonal conflicts. Now, a year later and 7 months into my career in advertising, the personal conflicts still reside (because… adulting), only now I have an apartment, job, and food to show for it.
When I started my job back in March of this year, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I have a degree in marketing and thought that I would use at least some of what I spent thousands of dollars on during my daily work functions. When I became a Digital Media Buyer for an advertising agency, which is far from anything I learned from school, I soon realized the unlearning and reteaching that I would undergo almost immediately.
Now I am pretty confident that I have a handle on my role. But don’t get it twisted, this did not some easy, because some of the best lessons come from your greatest success and screw ups! Luckily, I have been blessed with a team that is super supportive and are always willing to provide helpful insight.
With this milestone, it’s only right that take all the major keys that I’ve learned in this time, and share with you all:
1.) Don’t be thirsty for a mentor too soon.
From the jump, I will admit that I made this mistake with the first black woman I saw who worked a couple of floors down from me. One day, I walked up to her and asked if she had time to chat over coffee and she agreed. From there we had lunch another time, but things flat-lined when she just became too busy. From this, I soon learned that as bad I as want a mentor in my industry, like friendships, these things tend to happen organically. Don’t force your mentorships, they will come when it’s time.
2.) Ask questions.
Contrary to popular belief, your managers and co-workers actually want you to ask questions. Informed questions. They would rather you ask a bunch of questions in your early months as a beginner than to get 6 months down the road and it be reviled that you really don’t know a thing. When asking questions, be mindful of the 2 times rule. (I created this myself): First time to hear the explanation. Second time to have it. Next time you apply.
3.) Invest in a good note book, or two or three…
The number of notebooks that I have at my desk is almost embarrassing, but necessary. I truly do not know where I would be without my notebooks; when I first began, they served as a home for all the new information I learned. Soon, they became a tool to keep track of tasks that would be given to me by my co-workers. Now, they are the only way I can remain organized in the fast past world of advertising I work in. My suggestion: invest in two or three to remain organized… and sane.
4.) Yes, you are being watched.
Not going to front, it’s a little creepy to think that you have eyes on you at all times when you start your new job, but sorry, you do. That means what you wear, your punctuality, and ever how you greet the doorman is all under surveillance. Make sure you’re leaving a good impression wherever you are.
5.) Let your work ethic speak for you.
Sometimes, people will get to see your work before they are able to get to know you, so your execution is extremely important.Granted, we all have our days where we woke up on the wrong side of the bed and have no interest in going into work that day, but you have to rise above and work your behind off until it’s time to clock out. Personally, I’ve seen my work responsibilities increase, for no other reason than the fact that I handle my business. The goal isn’t to say a Jr. Associate for the next 2-3years, it’s to learn all I can so that I can move on to the next position, and you get there by putting in the work.
I hope this tips were helpful and provided you insight if you’ve started a new role or are on the path too. Let me know your favorite tip in the comments below and feel free to share something you learned while being the “New Girl/Boy on the Block!”
Peace, peace, peace,