If I Were 22

In honor of graduation, LinkedIn created a blog series entitled, “If I Were 22,” in which influencers were asked to write advice to recent graduates about starting a new career and entering the professional world. The advice is great and much appreciated—we are young and honestly need a lot of it. We are fortunate to read advice from some of the most successful men and women in the world.

However, sometimes it’s better to hear advice from the people closer to us, people we have established relationships with, and people in our world we want to emulate. That’s why I decided to ask some of the people I respect most for some of their “If I Were 22” advice.

I asked my friends who are 22, and I asked the Leadership Team at Corus360 the same question.

“If you could give your younger 22-year-old self one piece of advice before you started your first full-time job, what would it be?”

As you might be able to imagine, the advice I received from my friends was not the enlightened, life-altering advice I was seeking. However, I did learn that my friends and my peers were going through the same struggles I was. Every 22-year-old that started a job in the past few months will tell you the same thing: it was hard. It is certainly not the greatest difficulty we will overcome in life, but the journey from college to the “real world” is an emotional, exciting, yet challenging time.

Challenges arise because we are no longer the top of the class. We certainly do not have all the answers, and some of us are still struggling to find how our career fits with who we want to be. Some of us are in new cities. Some of us are working new jobs, and some of us still don’t have jobs. We are no longer in an environment where our knowledge is gauged by correct answers on a test. Instead, our knowledge is gauged by our actions. Our teachers have become our bosses, and our tests are how we implement what we have learned.

I learned a lot in the four years I was at school, but I have learned much more being a full-time employee. Most people my age will agree with that. Most importantly, I have learned that taking the time to ask questions is the best part of my day. Honestly, most of the time, I probably ask too many questions. However, taking the time to ask the Leadership Team at Corus360 for their “If I Were 22” advice was definitely not one of those times.

They offered me a lot of helpful insight, but I thought I would share the one piece of advice that stuck out most to me from each of my managers:

  1. “Be in your life.” –Rhonda Hanes, Director of Human Resources

  2. “Never stop learning.” –Allison Rickards, Director of Marketing and Communications

  3. “Check your ego at the door.” –Justin Hall, Vice President of Business Development

  4. “There will always be people smarter than you, but you can outwork anyone.” –Todd Cannady, Executive VP, General Manager

  5. “Listen more and talk less.” –Jay Moore, Director of Sales Operations

  6. “Relentless forward progress. Effort matters.” –Ted Pappas, Vice President of Sales, Professional Services

  7. “Don’t just take a job to have a job. Find a culture that fits.” –Steve Johnson, President

  8. “Set goals and continuously learn.” –Scott Rowe, Vice President of Professional Services

  9. “You will make mistakes and fail, but they will provide you invaluable lessons that will help you be the best you.” –Cindy Kennedy, Managing Partner

  10. “Don’t take on the world by yourself.” –Blake Frazier, Managing Partner

  11. “Have patience in your career and set realistic goals.” –James Meyers, Vice President of Solution Architects & CTO

I learned a lot by taking the time to ask a simple question. From my friends, I learned that when you ask a bunch of 22-year-olds advice about starting a full-time job, it’s going to take persistence to get a real answer. (My first responses were that it’s important to pack snacks and to make sure and set your alarm). From my managers, I learned that hard work is important at every age. I learned that managers are willing to teach just as much as young people want to learn, and I discovered that sometimes, not having all the answers is the best part about being 22.

Most importantly, though, this experiment taught me that at 22, there’s so much more to learn than I expected.

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