In Her Words
Just Let Me Work
Frustrations of the entry-level professional
By: Jessica M. Love
When a young woman graduates from a fine intellectual institution with noteworthy grades, internship experience and focused career aspirations, she doesn’t realize that her talents may go unnoticed for quite some time.
When a young woman obtains her first entry-level job—sure that she can quickly excel, share her unique skill set and show her boss that she will learn everything she can about her industry—she doesn’t expect to have the door slammed in her face. When a young woman looks to those above her for guidance and demonstration of work ethic and excellence, she does not expect to find it missing.
When months go by and the young woman’s workload is still too small, challenges have not been posed, and her requests for more work and offers to help on any and all projects have gone unanswered, she wonders, when did mediocrity become so acceptable?
Surely, these young women are rare gems—yet they feel lost in a first-step career move that’s good for the resume, but otherwise unremarkable.
The professional world is one of mixed messages. Some leaders in the workplace mentor those who desire achievement. Some have the vision to recognize that not-often-found young woman who has a spark that will fuel a fire; whose work ethic is above and beyond most in her realm of experience; whose eagerness to grow and learn will help her make some kind of great contribution to her profession.
Often, however, other leaders convey a different message. This message seems to be one that suggests to the average worker, “Do well—just not that well. Appear busy, but never actually finish work ahead of time. Don’t attempt to surpass your duties at hand. Never challenge those above you—you aren’t at their level.”
In what world should a young woman be taught to “get by”? When did it become an expectation to settle within so-called boundaries; and when did efficiency and enthusiasm stop being exceptional and become something to ignore or, dare I say, be threatened by?
Tell us: In this structured world of hierarchy, job security and paying dues, can one ever really surpass all the politics to accomplish something significant before the age 30?