MonthMay 2017

Titles Mean Nothing

Last week I was asked to present at PlaceNet17, a conference for University careers teams, about my experiences on placement. I spoke about my time with 3M so far and reflected back on my applications. I ended with some advice, one part being “titles mean nothing.” This particular piece of advice was very relevant for me and my application, yet it was a statement that made many in the audience pause and think (or at least that’s how it looked).

What was I on about?

I had no intention of going into a marketing role for my placement. I didn’t want to work on adverts and communications all the time. Yet here I am, 9 months into a marketing placement. So what happened? I realised ‘marketing’ can mean something very different in different places. In some companies, it means working on promotion and communications, at others it meant product management, customer interaction and even a bit of operations. I found such varied job descriptions when applying that I ended up ignoring job titles and only read descriptions and spoke to previous interns. Getting drawn into the ‘ideal title’ is dangerous because it doesn’t determine if you’ll actually like the day to day work, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the responsibilities you want and it might not align with your skills.

The same goes for the company you choose.

I’d never heard of 3M until, by chance, I attended a mock interview with them and found out what they did. If I’d only looked at the companies I recognised I would have missed out. There are many fantastic companies and programs available that probably don’t get the credit they deserve. The reverse is also true, just because your favourite company offers a program, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. You don’t want to be 6 months in and hate the work, no amount of love for the company name will save you from a role that just isn’t right.

I’d say this is probably accurate for a lot of other scenarios – take the time to realise what you want and what will fit. But perhaps I can write about that in the future with a few more years of application experience to find out 🙂

It’s a Matter of Routine

How many times do you hear people say “I just can’t get in the routine!”?

They could be talking about going to bed early, going to the gym, eating healthy, you name it. We all desire the perfect routine that we believe will help us reach our goals, and we aren’t wrong to think it. Every Friday I post a blog, or at least I did for a year and a half. Suddenly I miss one week, then two, then three. The routine was broken, I’m probably the only one that cared, but to me, it hurt. Why should I care so much about missing a couple of blogs? Because it represented the power of routine to do something that I believed to be useful, without any immediate rewards. Your routines will mean the same to you, and you too probably get annoyed when you opt for the easy option.

Don’t beat yourself up

 I believe it is easiest to get back into a routine by pretending the pause didn’t happen, don’t think about it, don’t punish yourself for it. Instead, remember all the times you made it, remember the times your routine felt easy and go back to that time. Continue where you left off and don’t look back.

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