What Authenticity Means to Me -- a Twenty Four Year Old Young Professional

As a young professional, navigating certain situations in the workplace can be challenging. How do you bring your authentic self to a business environment when you are still learning and understanding the people and culture of the company? How do you, as a young professional, bring your authentic self to the workplace?

I started my first job right out of college four years ago. When I began my professional career, I was unsure how I could align the person that my family and friends knew and loved with the capable professional that I imagined I should be in the office. Over the past four years I’ve learned a few things that have helped me blend the two.

First, being proactive about open communication has been critical.

Don’t just sit back and wait for someone to help push you to be better. Your supervisor is there to assist you in your role and probably knows that you are in a position that will need development. Communicate your desire for constructive criticism. Your supervisor will appreciate the willingness to grow and receive criticism objectively – a perception that’s good for you in the long term.

Second—ask questions.

Many times during the first year of your career you will be unclear about how something should be done. You may not even know who to ask! It’s ok. Just ask. Often we avoid asking questions for fear of looking inadequate when, in fact, we’re doing ourselves a greater disservice when we remain silent about things we are unsure of. I have learned far more when I asked a question and received clarification right away instead of taking fifteen incorrect steps and having to redo something that could have been handled easily if I had only known better.

Finally, be open.

Just because you are bit uncomfortable does not mean you are being inauthentic. Coming up against that wall of discomfort is a natural part of growing as a professional and something everyone has experienced at some point during their career. Eventually, you’ll get to get to know your coworkers as people - and vice versa - and authenticity will become more natural. For now, try to not to take yourself too seriously and be open to listening and learning about the people around you.

Being authentic may require you to step outside of your safety zone. It will require you extend yourself in ways that you never imagined. Like many things results only come through trial and error, but once you find your stride, the risk is well worth the reward


Tags: Authenticity in the workplace , Millennial Development , Young Professionals ,

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