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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

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It takes time - and hard work - to get from here to where you want to be.
It takes time - and hard work - to get from here to where you want to be.

Learn to walk before you run

Not only has spring officially sprung, it's also t-minus one month or so until a new eager crop of fresh-eyed college graduates enter the workforce. I welcome you youngins'; congratulations on graduating and beginning the next chapter of your professional life.

HOWEVER.

This blog post is for you. Take what I'm about to say to heart.

The other week I had a conversation with a peer of mine about the younger generations, and how they often carry themselves with such a sense of entitlement. It's disgusting. The conversation included a comment from a college kid who indicated that he/she isn't interested in doing any "b*tch work" but wants the job my peer has. Sadly, I too have had conversations like that.

See, here's where you're wrong my college friends. You are NOT entitled to the jobs that people like myself have EARNED. May I remind you; you are entering a workforce that includes seasoned professionals (and this goes beyond the industry I work in) who are victims of this volatile economy and extensive job losses. You're up against professionals who have rich and accomplished resumes that they have worked years, or even decades to achieve.

I hate to knock you down a few pegs or burst your bubble, I really do. But trust me, it's for your own good. Life is not handed to you on a silver platter, no matter what you may have been spoon-fed.

In order to secure a job that some of us have, and most importantly, earn the RESPECT that advances you far in the professional world, you have to start at the bottom. You have to do the grunt work that proves your worth. You have to run errands, sort files, collate and answer phones. While you may think these meaningless tasks are beneath you, they're really doing you a favor. They're laying the groundwork and establishing trust, reliability and, if you see it through, a solid work ethic that will take you far.

My first job out of college was in a financial institution call center. My college degrees are not in anything financial-related and the job was anything but glamorous, but I knew that I needed to start somewhere; my dream job wasn't there for my skillset at that time. However, the skills that I developed and connections that I made – due to hard work – are more valuable to me than having some flashy title on my business card at the age of 22.

I'm well aware that IF you're even reading this post, you'll probably cuss under your breath and call me an old windbag – that's totally cool. But I'll remember that if we're ever face-to-face in a conference room and I have a vote in the hiring decision.

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