Let's be realistic…

The topic of conversation among us seniors now is graduation.  I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve sat around with friends and classmates concocting our quest to become successfully important contributors to society.  How exactly are we supposed to transform from the messy college kids, stumbling to class into the suited up, important business men and women hustling and bustling on the New York City sidewalks? What exactly is the next step?

It seems to me that most of us are focusing on where we hope to be in the next ten or 20 years.  Our expectation is to land our dream job and begin conquering the world right away.  Well, while some of us may get lucky, it’s a little far fetched for most of us.  It’s important to take a step back and view our future careers as investments.  As unglamorous as it sounds, working from the bottom up can actually be the most rewarding approach.  Todd Defren narrows in on the importance of committing to one employer in his blog post Careerism vs. Stickitoitiveness.

Defren discusses common practice in the PR industry to jump from job to job.  The cut-throat and competitive nature of the industry forces some to jump around.  In other cases, firms compete and recruit each other’s employees.  Either way, there seems to be a large turn-over rate in the industry.  Defren speaks from a PR agency owner’s perspective when he advises young “PR pros” to make a committment to a place they like, and stick to it.  Apparently, he already secretly knows who of his young employees will grow to be future Vice Presidents of the firm…potentially.  He knows they have the work ethic, but it all depends on the committment they decide to make to the agency.

This really left me with a lasting impression.  Our generation has the mindset that if we aren’t satisfied with what we’re doing, we’ll just go find something better.  Committment and loyalty aren’t the highest on our list of importance.  So, how many professionals out there, in any area, are still trying to land their dream job?  How many of them could be working that dream job right now if they had just stuck it out through less glamorous positions?

What do you think? Do you think loyalty to one employer and working from the bottom up is an outdated idea? What kind of mindset do you have as you’re getting ready to step off of the university campus and enter “the real world?”

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7 Responses to Let's be realistic…

  1. kbergeron44 says:

    I agree that the philosophy of working at one place for an extended period of time to work your way up the top seems lost in this day and age. I myself am guilty of thinking that ill walk right into the job of my dreams and adorn instant success. I think that the emergence of the internet in our lifetime has sped up almost all aspects of our lives, including our expectations. Those who now sit atop the board of directors for the companies we want to work at put in their work to get to their position and will expect us to do the same. I think that college grads need to temper their expectations and prepare to roll up their sleeves for a while because we have a lot of work ahead of us, whether we know it or not.

  2. tmpace says:

    Interesting topic! I was discussing this idea the other day. I always assumed in the PR world we were expected to change jobs every four to five years. My boss has been in PR for about 12 years and has more than three jobs within those years. Each time she reached a milestone year she was offered a better job. But I do see how dedication to a company shows leadership and loyalty. Those are two aspects are what bosses look for when hiring and when promoting. My only concern is that many PR firms are small, and many communications offices are small there may not be any chance of being promoted. In that case you need to move on.

  3. kristenih says:

    Great blog! I have always been the type to fully commit myself to the jobs I have worked and for that I have recieved promotions and incentives. i think that going into the world of PR I will keep this same habit. It is hard to say though because i am still really unsure of what aspect of PR I want to work in. I’m willing to try anything and stick with it if it is truely where my heart is and what I want to do. Maybe there is such a high turnover rate because there are so many different types of PR and when one gets into a specific and realizes it just isn’t the concentration they wanted. I will be fully commited to stay with a job, but I want to make sure that it is where my heart is. Because then I will be able to physically and mentally commit to giving it my all.

  4. lmdavis2 says:

    I think for most people there really is not cement definition of a dream job, because that definition could change several times over a lifetime. I think your best bet is to take the first job that is the most interesting and stimulating at the time. Putting too much focus on finding your dream job or a job that might possibly lead to your “dream job” leads people to settle for less satisfying jobs. I think it is more important to look at the short-term picture right now, especially with the way the economy is. You will eventually find your dream job but it might take some not so glamours jobs on the way.

  5. cafuller says:

    Thanks for the comments. I agree that there are times when it makes sense to move around. I also don’t know exactly what area of PR I want to work in, so I will probably move around to start out. Once I realize what I like, I hope to settle somewhere. There will always be those times when you stop being satisfied with the direction your firm is growing in. That is also a time to consider moving on. I think the important message to take away is to not expect to start out big, and to be willing to work hard to get up to the top instead of being picky about what the firm is giving you.

  6. Mickey Siegel says:

    The problem with many agencies is that unlike many larger corporations, there aren’t any worker benefits to stay at one job for a long period of time besides regular raises or the possibility of promotion. At larger corporations, there are benefits that people hit that longer they stay with a company. Whether they are health benefits, retirement benefits or others, these sort of benefits are not seen at most PR agencies or small businesses in general.

  7. bryantedleson says:

    I don’t necessarily think working from the ground up is an outdated idea, I just think too many people jump at better opportunities early on rather than sticking it out to the end at one place. In theory this makes a lot of sense and is a very good idea if you could find somewhere that fits for you in a place you’re willing to live. Ideally that is the best scenario.

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