No one is entitled to a raise, a promotion or even a particular job (I believe people should have access to work, equal opportunity, fair wages, etc., that is not my focus here). There is often confusion over the belief that the often-cited vague “experience” is reason enough for someone to be elevated to a higher place in the company organizational chart. Experience is not expertise and that logic helps motivate me to learn new things every day because I don’t believe I should be rewarded simply for contributing to the daily status quo.
1. Get angry (sort of): No, don’t yell at me for being too handsome. And don’t complain because you like to complain; but expressing your frustrations in a constructive manner is healthy and a good barometer for determining the type of environment that you’re in.
If your views are ignored, or worse, punished, then you have your answer: find a new job. If you feel validated that your opinion matters and your concerns are being addressed, you’re probably at the right place. Get excited about what you’re doing.
2. Education is important (not a source of entitlement): I cannot overemphasize the importance of education, but education comes in many shapes and sizes. Going to graduate school for the sake of going to graduate school is not (a worthwhile) education. It might look good on your resume for a few months, but it does not entitle you to anything over your peers because you pushed off work for a couple of years.
That being said, going to graduate school or enrolling in a certification program or some other technical or vocational course because you want to learn and apply these new skills, that is a worthwhile use of your time and resources. If the new education is an effective addition to your resume, your career path and opportunities will present themselves very quickly.
3. Make friends (sounds more fun than “networking”): Networking is a fancy word for expanding the base of contacts that you can rely on for various things: project collaboration, employment searches, learning, talking, laughing and finally: loving. (I don’t suggest jumping right in to the “loving” part, but in due time, you might get there with the right set of people).
You can’t effectively build your network without really knowing the people in your address book (that’s a paper book that used to hold contact information for people). It should not be a chore to meet new people and learn new perspectives. I have met so many great people through the various pockets of my life, and I can rely on many of them for both professional and personal advice. When I finally get my act together and start a business, I know whose opinions and validation I will seek.
If you feel like you have no professional friends, you might need to reevaluate how you present yourself. Most people are very nice and are not out to get you.
Remember that. Most people are very nice and are not out to get you. Go out and make some friends. Everyone likes friends.
Life can be unfair. That does not give you the right to feel entitled to anything. I have been fortunate in many ways, and I never forget that, but I feel that I have earned most of my achievements, especially given certain events along the way.
Go get excited, learn new things and make some friends. I’ll see you out there.
Also: Don't listen to me, I'm just me. Do your homework and apply new perspectives to you.