Let’s Get it Started

They say that all good lessons start out with a story (I am not sure who “they” are or why they say it, but I have to say I agree).  Let’s go back a few years to my very first performance review in my first job out of college…

“I am just not sure that you really ‘get it.’” [Long pause] “You appear to be a sharp young person but I rarely receive any feedback or questions from you, so I am not sure you really even understand how to do your job.”

The words that came out of my boss’ mouth during my first performance review, 3 months into my first job out of college, still sting.  I thought I was excelling. I figured my boss would be happy that I was not coming to her asking for help, instead trusting my own instincts.  The first of many questions raced through my mind; ‘why didn’t someone tell me how to handle my performance review?’ Without even knowing it I had committed one of the deadly sins to avoid when starting a new job: I did not get to know how my boss liked to communicate.  I had used other resources like asking my peers for advice on fulfilling my job description, but I did not take the time to connect with nor understand my manager.

This is just example of the many ways things a young professional can do that will derail your career.  In the blog posts to come, I will give you key advice on what to do in situations like these, so stay tuned.

But first there are a few important questions to ask…

Who Am I?

I am a 28 year old corporate manager at a Fortune 20 company (a company that I guarantee everyone has heard of). Being part of Gen Y (or a millennial or whatever the heck they want to call us), I know exactly what you are going through in the first few years of your career.  The questions, the doubts, the setbacks, and the successes (both big and small).

After graduating from undergrad I joined the company as part of a rotational leadership program. Day 1 they put me in charge of 20 people, most of whom had worked at the company longer than I had been alive. I then rotated into marketing and operations positions before being promoted to Area Manager in sales (and ultimately being selected for the company’s “Diamond Club” a distinction only awarded to the top 1% of sales leaders worldwide). After a couple more years I was appointed Regional Vice President and currently am in business development and strategy for the company.  Outside of my corporate job I have founded and run a couple companies, (www.Pong360.com and www.FlagdownTaxi.com) and started a charity (www.cupsforequality.org).  I am also a pretty avid traveler, having been to over 30 countries (more on this later).

Besides all of this, I have mentored a bunch of friends and co-workers (both formally and informally) and have been told I give pretty good advice (but keep reading and you tell me).

What is YP Edge?/What will I be writing about?

Young Professional’s Edge (or YP Edge as I like to call it) is a resource for young professionals to get advice. I am really looking to have a back and forth conversation, so reply to posts and message me if you have any opinions of things, have questions or want me to write about something in particular.

Who should read it?

YP Edge is for young professionals.  That term doesn’t really have an exact age limit on it since many times we change careers and companies or go back to grad school and have to start building a career all over again.  I am sure there will be some readers out there that are still in college/grad schools.  What I write about will definitely help you too… you are already starting to get ahead of the curve.

Why is it important? And how can it help you?

Working is not the most fun thing in the world (it can be rewarding but many times there are other things that I wouldn’t mind spending my time doing).  It is tough and I remember that many times I didn’t have the answers to questions I needed. I looked for mentors but most were more senior managers who had no idea what it was like to be a recent graduate in jobs at the bottom of the corporate ladder.  Having the right answers and mindset would be great, right? That is what YP Edge will give you. A leg up, great advice and a place to discuss questions you have about the corporate world and your career.

That’s all for now.  Since I don’t have a clever way to end my posts yet I will just end with [insert super cool catch phrase here].


About Young Professional's Edge (YP Edge)

Aaron McDaniel is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held numerous management roles at a Fortune 500 company, being appointed Regional Vice President at the age of 27, and is the founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures. He is also the author of the book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World (http://www.amazon.com/Young-Professionals-Guide-Working-World/dp/1601632428). Aaron instructed a highly rated student-led course on leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas Undergraduate School of Business and has a book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due to be out later this year. Aaron offers advice that helps young professionals build the foundation for a successful career. Visit his blog, http://www.ypedge.com to learn more.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in Philosophy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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