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Lessons from a Fellow Millennial: Navigating the World of Work

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As a recent graduate newly navigating the world of work, it can all seem overwhelming. The advice you get from parents, professors, or managers may seem misinformed, leading you to think, “Well, they don’t really know what they’re talking about, right?” That’s why sometimes peer-to-peer advice is the most valuable when navigating unfamiliar situations. Matt Patterson, a 28-year-old millennial who just went through this exact transition, is ready to share what he’s learned during his journey from college to career.

Discovering Yourself During the College-to-Career Transition

From a young age, Matt had a passion for business, watching his father’s entrepreneurial endeavors and helping him out at his HVAC shop every summer. But it was at UMass Amherst while pursuing a degree in business and entrepreneurship that he was motivated by the creativity and innovation that permeates the entrepreneurial world.

After graduation, he worked his way up from marketing associate to marketing director at various companies, learning a lot along the way — but an idea sparked at the beginning of COVID-19 changed everything. His father invented a portable filter prototype that used proven technology to kill COVID-19 and other viruses. Matt knew there was something bigger there. So, the entrepreneurial spirit he had cultivated in school paired with the knowledge he had gained in the world of work inspired him to turn this idea into a thriving business.

That entrepreneurial spark ignited in college has now led him and his father to help their community stay open and safe during the pandemic while also making a living working together, which for Matt is the ultimate reward!

Top Tips for Navigating the World of Work

As a young professional and new entrepreneur, Matt experienced firsthand that transition from college to career, noting that the transition made school feel like a vacuum — if you do XYZ, your result will be XYZ. But that wasn’t his experience with the real world. He used the following tips and strategies to navigate the transition without getting down on himself, and you can too!

Life is a Continuous Cycle — Embrace It

Unlike school, life is a continuous cycle. It can be difficult during a transition or hard time to not see “the light at the end of the tunnel” like you would at the end of a school semester or an assignment, but embrace that discomfort and power through it — that’s where growth happens.

Transition Your Systems and Workflows to the “Real World”

In school, you had project due dates; you had to map out your schedule. Think about the processes and workflows that made you successful in those things and determine how to alter those for professional success. Just because the school structure is gone doesn’t mean you can’t use those tools. Be proactive, not reactive!

Expect the Unexpected and Prepare for It

School doesn’t necessarily prep you to pivot or overcome roadblocks, which Matt emphasized was his biggest lesson after graduation. You don’t just move on to the next thing because you have another assignment you can work on. It’s important to expect roadblocks and challenges and be prepared to get creative to solve the problem.

Treat Every Experience Like a Learning Opportunity

Just because you may not enjoy a job doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. Every experience offers an opportunity to be better, gain knowledge, and learn skills you can apply later to manifest success.

Want More Advice and Tips?

Like Matt, NimblyWise’s mission is to help young professionals navigate the college to career transition, teaching skills that the classroom may not have. Take our quiz and we’ll reach out with how we may be able to help you succeed!
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