Millenial women in the residual post-recession job market are given little mercy when it comes to completing the unpaid internship, locking down a secure job and steady income, all in their twenties. All this is especially impractical since right now, expectations are so high, and opportunities, so low. The pressure is unrealistic, unhelpful, and … straight up irritating.
Here are three reasons to just say no to the "great expectations" noise:
- This is your life to create. Your path and pace is uniquely yours
- You're an adult and you're the boss of you – you to decide how to manage your life
- Your idea of success is yours to define
Sometimes, just saying no – to a chance to network, a big-deal-event invite, an extra chunk of bonus work – is the smartest thing you can do. If it's going to burn you out and you don't really need to do it, why do it? It might seem like now's the time to "prove yourself," but your early career is the time you've got to be focused, present, and learn.
A wise man (Ice Cube) taught us: "Life ain't a track meet, it's a marathon." He wasn't implying that we sprint like demons the whole time till we reach the finish line. He meant we have to pace ourselves. Being in your early career is all about finding your pace. It's about testing your limits so you know them, understanding the difference between meaningful tasks and busy work, figuring out how to be the most effective manager of your own career – essentially, building a solid foundation. Plowing though assignments, meetings, networking events, in attempts to get everything under the sun done and achieve superstar status just isn't the way to build a long term career.
In her article, Why Millennial Women are Burning Out At Work by 30, author Larissa Far writes that Gen Y women are "flaming out" of the corporate ladder because they're exhausting themselves during the first stressful years of their career. She writes, "one reason that women are burning out early in their careers is that they have simply reached their breaking point after spending their childhoods developing well-rounded resumes … These women worked like crazy in school, and in college, and then they get into the workforce and they are exhausted."
We work our buns off to get into University, then worked even harder to get the internship, then to get the job, (because that ball-busting hard work and money making is what it takes now) and now that we're here, we're pooped. So, lets take it down a knotch. Let's take it one day at a time, go easy on ourselves when we need a break, and focus on creating that sustainable pace. Think of Ice Cube.
You're the only one who sets your standards for success, and they should absolutely be within your means. It's totally cool to say no thanks to something else if it's not your bag. Look for the opportunities that excite you, and working hard won't feel like work – it'll feel like kicking ass!