Compiled by Molly Tracy
Starting out on the path to your career as a young professional can be daunting - I know I am stumbling a bit as I’m finding my way. What if someone else could do the heavy lifting by making those mistakes for you? Well, in our new series “Ask a Stroudie,” we’ll be asking Stroudies about what they’ve learned so far on their career paths.
In this segment, we asked, “What’s one piece of advice you’d give to young professionals?” and here is what some Stroudies said:
Choosing a Career
“Run toward the opportunities to have an impact that present themselves. Don't worry if the work wasn't exactly what you had anticipated. Being able to show that you had a big impact and made your mark on something will carry you forward better than titles or brand names.” - Scott Whitbread, Partner
“Don't worry about flying your entire career on a single, max-speed trajectory. Many people worry that a career change, or a sabbatical, or time exploring something else will "tank" their career. Look through history: many of the most successful professionals didn't have the perfect career lined up at age 22. Better to work on getting it right than to go full-speed on the wrong thing.” - Erik Fogg, Marketing Lead
“Constantly seek new experiences. Every experience is an opportunity to better understand what you excel at and what type of work you enjoy (and what type of work you don't enjoy). If you shape your career to fit your ‘Zone of Genius,’ you'll feel happy and fulfilled. It's really hard to know what your Zone of Genius is without testing new things out.” - Elena Bergougnou, Project Lead
“When the career fair comes, go to every booth. This is one of the only times that every company is there looking to talk to you, so take advantage of it.” - Kyle Bowman, Senior Associate
“Keep your mind open to jobs you hadn't planned on. It's early on in your career, so you have the freedom to try out new roles and see where they take you. I went into my first job search thinking I had to work in research, but was surprised and excited about the opportunity to try consulting. Turns out I really like leading teams and working on new projects every couple months.” - Patrick Smith, Project Lead
Once You’ve Started Your Job...
“You're more capable than you think you are! Don't be afraid to speak up and say what you think - people will most often appreciate candid feedback and respect you for it.” - Sam Creme, Senior Associate
"Be yourself. Many young professionals enter their first job with almost a ‘suit of armor’ covering their real personality and what they think. They think that they need to act or be a certain way on the job. I've found that it's obvious when someone isn't really being themselves, and to me it makes it hard for me to trust them. Yes, be open totally to coaching and respond to feedback (you will have a ton to learn), but be yourself!" - Joe Essenburg, Engagement Lead
“Don't be afraid to speak up! It can be intimidating entering a workplace where you feel like you have little to contribute, due to your age and experience. Use this as an opportunity to ask a lot of questions, and meet as many new people as possible - you'll be pleasantly surprised about how interested they will be in showing you the ropes and teaching you a thing or two!” - Matt Slavin, Senior Associate
“It doesn't matter how well you do something. At this point, what matters is that you step forward and just do it over and over, wanting to get better. How well you perform will take care of itself.” - Nico de Raemy, Associate
Stay tuned for more Ask a Stroudie pieces! If there are any questions you’d like us to answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask a Stroudie” in the subject line.