A month ago I started my first job out of college as an Associate Account Executive at SunStar Strategic. The first day was everything you’d expect from a new job. They showed me my office, introduced me to my co-workers, and gave me my first week’s agenda. While most of the day was pretty straight forward and there was one thing that our companies CFO said that stuck with me.
“You’re a freshman again”
He went on to explain that just like I was a freshman in high school and college, I’m a freshman in the working world now. The same rules apply; I have to learn how to manage a new workload, find mentors to give me guidance, and everything else that comes along with being the new guy.
He then said as he enters retirement he too will be a freshman. He’ll be brand new to retirement and have to learn everything that comes along with it.
This takes me back to my time as a freshman in high school. I hated being at the bottom of the totem pole. I was scared of the older kids, didn’t have any routine or process set yet, and had no influence. I spent years waiting to be a senior in high school, finally able to exercise some power and influence. Then what happened? The very next year I dropped all the way down to freshman again. The same thing happened to us after college, we’ve now become new to the work force.
One day I’ll be a freshman manager, parent, husband, etc… The feeling of being new and venturing into the unknown doesn’t go away after school, you’ll always be a freshman.
The best we can do is accept this role and tackle it head on. Learn to love being new at things, having to learn a new skill and get help from others. No one will deny that being new is a scary process, I can’t even imagine the stress of being a new parent. But when your time comes to be a “senior”, pay back the advice you learned and help out a fellow freshman. Appreciate the climb just as much as being at the top.
I’m starting to realize why my mom always told me not to wish my life away. Like my favorite quote says
“Accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No Drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end.” – Christopher Sommer
Or, the modern day version
“Trust the process” – Joel Embiid