Millennials Entering The Workforce: Our Obsession With Being 'Prepared'.
As Millennials, we often want to know all the details when it comes to starting a new job. We want to know everything about the people we are working for, and those we will be working with. We also want to know what all of our daily tasks and responsibilities will be ahead of time. This is natural, we want to be prepared. But, oftentimes this need to be prepared causes us a great deal of anxiety; we never feel entirely ready. This is because no matter how much research you do before starting a new job, the reality is that you will always encounter something you weren't prepared for. Life is unpredictable. We've all heard the saying “We make plans and god laughs”.Yet, we still hold on to this comforting notion that we can control everything, as long as we prepare for it.
When I was a kid I remember my friends and I thinking we could do anything we put our minds to. Now, we all panic at the introduction of anything remotely new, especially in the workforce. Our first reaction is to panic and let out a “I'm freaking out. I can't do this.” Somehow, it seems we've all lost our 'we can do anything' attitude.
This need to be prepared ahead of time comes from our school experience. From the moment we begin our education: elementary school, secondary, to post secondary, we are constantly preparing in order to achieve positive results. If we want to ace a test, we study. If we want to receive a high grade on a presentation, we practice. So, of course we go into the workforce thinking that there is some study guide on how to succeed at our job. There isn't. There is no script to follow, no definitive right answer or way to succeed. You simply do your best.
No one starts out in the workforce knowing everything there is to know. We look at those whom we deem successful and think “I wish I could do what they do.” [insert sigh of self pity here].Those successful people weren't born with all the skills and knowledge necessary to get where they are. They learned. From experience, and probably most prominently, from failure. It's not about studying hard enough, or rehearsing enough, its simply about being open and accepting that, like everything, this is a learning process.
Yes, we can prepare ourselves for a job to some extent. We can research the company, stalk the profiles of our new co-workers on LinkedIn and Facebook. But, we will undoubtedly encounter situations and tasks we had no way of anticipating. That being said, perhaps the only way we can truly prepare for the workforce is to adapt effective modes of coping with the unexpected and unfamiliar. When someone hands you a task that you don't feel confident in, resist the urge to panic. Instead, view these uncomfortable, new challenges as opportunities to grow. There are lessons to be learned; skills to be acquired from every new, uncomfortable encounter. Take solace in the fact that at one point in time, every single person was unskilled at something they proceeded to master.
We must let go of the fabricated notion of preparation and it's insufferable accomplice: anxiety. It's time for us to return to the can – do attitude we all once had.