Written by Avery Resendiz
As a rising senior at Columbia College Chicago and an Intern working for The Harbinger Group, I was asked to be a part of the “Can You Hear Me?” podcast episode 27, “The Next Generation Workforce Speaks Out,” hosted by Eileen Rochford, CEO of The Harbinger Group, and Rob Johnson, President at Rob Johnson Communications. I had a pleasant experience receiving advice from two very successful professionals as well as hearing my peers’ perspectives. We were asked three questions regarding our presumptions and ambitions in connection to the workforce. In case you missed the episode, here is a rundown of my thoughts on the matter.
- What is your dream job?
My thoughts of what a ‘dream job’ is have changed with age, but over the years, I have learned that the most effective way to determine the job that will match your lifestyle is through experience. Each school year, I was asked if I could have any job, what would it be? Of course, the answers varied based on my age. I went from wanting to be a zookeeper, to a doctor, and then a politician. Fast forward to high school, I was told it was time to make a choice of what I wanted to major in and where I wanted to go to complete a bachelor’s degree. I thought it was strange that at 17 years old, utterly inexperienced, I was expected to make a decision that would affect the rest of my life; in terms of whether or not I would be happy and if I could afford the lifestyle, I craved. After my first semester of college, I decided the university I had chosen was not beneficial for my future if I wanted to optimize as many opportunities as possible following college graduation.
I transferred to Columbia College Chicago and decided to change my major from communications to double majoring in public relations and broadcast journalism. I was frightened that I would be stuck in a position where I would be told I had a limited choice on what career path I could pursue post-graduation. My first professional position has been with The Harbinger Group. I have gained valuable insight into what entering the workforce will look like, and as Rob Johnson mentioned, internships are where you learn what you enjoy doing and what you do not. At this moment, I have been lucky enough to be in a position where I get to work on projects where my leaders ask my opinion for pivotal tasks, always validating that my ideas are an essential part of the project process. I am a realistic person, so my goal is to find an entry-level position in a company where growth is an option because, in order to thrive as a young professional, trial and error is the best way to learn what companies and job titles suit you and which do not in order to determine your ‘dream job.’
- What are important factors to consider when taking a job offer?
Anticipating expectations from your new company, employees, and employers is normal from a graduate who is entering the workforce. I learned what my desires are from positive and negative experiences I have had, whether they were during college classes or from past jobs. Upon landing my internship at The Harbinger Group, I never believed that I would be working on important projects for clients or that my opinion would be respected, let alone taken into consideration. My expectations have been exceeded, which raises my standards for wherever I may end up next. I have always told myself that I would never be in a position where I did not receive mutual respect from my employers and coworkers. There is no room for personal growth in an environment where you and your aptitudes are not valued. I also think it is essential to be challenged. I never want to be under the circumstances of not learning anything new or excelling in my career. Flexibility is necessary for gaining the social aspect of being in an office setting as well as working online because personal care and mental health are crucial to being successful.
- What do you have to offer being a part of Gen Z?
A big part of being a part of Gen Z is that I bring a fresh perspective to the company; I know what people in my generation find essential and how to market to them. Also, I can say that almost all of us in Gen Z were practically born with phones in our hands, so I know how to utilize technology as it paves the way for new trends and marketing tactics. Overall, technology is everlasting, and it’s vital to have employees who know how to use it productively. On a personal level, something I believe I bring to the table that makes me stand out from the rest of Gen Z is my attitude. I always say that although you do not get to determine who you work with or what you are working on, you get to decide how you do it based on the ideology that you are in control of your own attitude and reactions.
Taking everything into account, as a young professional entering the workforce possibly for the first time, there are a few things you have to remember:
- It is important to value educational and workplace experiences to determine what job will best complement your lifestyle. If something is no longer benefiting you in a positive manner or isn’t allowing you to reach your goals, it is okay to change your mind.
- Knowing what ‘deal breakers’ you have for what you do not want to experience in a job or what you are looking for can help you to narrow down your search to find the best job offer.
- Do not be afraid to speak positively about the skills you possess due to your upbringing and what makes you stand out from your peers’ knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important during the job searching process.