Be confident, but don’t be arrogant. Ask for feedback, but don’t be needy! Be open-minded, but be careful about pushing the boundaries! Dress to reflect who you are but not too casual! Share your opinion, but still be respectful of your elders!

How can you be yourself in a world full of conflicting opinions?

I thought I just graduated college! Wait, no, that was over 10 years ago…

And now I am surrounded by 20-somethings, tagged with the scarlet “M,” who sometimes (yes, I admit) I call millennials – and not in a positive way.

But then I start to get nostalgic, I think about when I graduated college and got my first job. I think about what I wore to work, what questions I may have asked, or how I generally approached my colleagues, and a little cringe comes across my face as the memories make their way into my frontal lobe.

Did I really just curse while speaking to the VP of Sales!?!?

Picture from above on which you can see that the photographer is wearing white trainers and a casual grey dress
White sneakers with any outfit are a great fit if you are starting in a casual work environment.

Getting your first job is hard. Navigating the workplace is difficult and success is certainly not easy. But through failure, trial and error and over time, you settle into the professional person you want to be perceived as.

OK, so you landed your dream job – GOOD FOR YOU! How do you be the best version of you in the workplace?

1. Listen, learn, repeat

Fresh perspectives are amazing and key to the success of any team or company. But understanding your new environment, shared goals, and what’s appropriate are just as important. Truly listen to what your manager, director, other employees are saying, doing and wearing. Getting to know the lay of the land will be critical in helping you determine what’s appropriate and what’s not.

2. Ask questions

Ask all the questions and don’t be shy. It shows passion, engagement and can get you great exposure. Plus it will only help make you better at your job!

3. Prove it

Think you’re worth more money? A bigger job? More responsibility? Then show your manager that you are absolutely killing it in your job, so when that next opportunity comes up you are the first person they think of.

4. Go the extra mile

I can’t stress this enough. Any and all opportunities you have to do just a little bit more than was asked of you, you should jump on! Asked to do a competitive analysis? Put together a presentation McKinsey would drool over. Asked to organize samples? Make the rack look straight out of Armani. These are the kinds of things that impress people and get you the rock star reputation you deserve.

5. Attire

OK, so we are casual. But how casual? Part of our business is being “fashionable,” right? This is definitely tricky in a super casual but don’t cross the line environment. My only advice here is you don’t need to wear your Saturday night clubbing clothes or your Sunday “I have the worst hangover of my life clothes,” to work. When people think of you, you want their first thought to be about the work you did, not what you were wearing to the Thursday morning team meeting.

How are you advising Millennials joining your company? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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