Joining the Workforce as a Millennial

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As a graduate embarking on my career, I feel it’s important for me to share my experiences, thoughts and feelings on what it’s like to enter the workplace as a millennial.

We are living in a time where there is so much pressure to thrive and show the best version of ourselves – especially when it comes to our careers. Social media broadcasts the ins and outs of people’s lives, mostly highlighting their successes but not often their failures. This can put a tremendous weight on young people when applying for their first full time job. I remember this time last year feeling really disheartened because I hadn’t secured myself a graduate scheme for September. It was difficult to see daily Instagram posts from other students who had. It was a confusing time because I felt this insane pressure to commit myself to a specific career path; though, I didn’t know what I wanted for dinner that night, let alone what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Fast forward 1 year and thankfully those feelings are nowhere to be seen. I’m writing this blog in the hope that it resonates with future graduates who are in that difficult limbo part of their lives, wondering “what am I going to do for the rest of my life?” or “how do I get there?”. We’ve all been there and there’s no need to stress.

My personal transition from university to work life

Transitioning from being at university and living the student life to becoming a full-time employee is not easy, at least it wasn’t for me. Stepping into the big wide world was something that I found very daunting and if I’m being perfectly honest, I struggled at first. I felt like a little fish in a very big pond. University provided me with some of the best years of my life and leaving it all behind is not something you can fully prepare yourself for. For me personally, it was a very bittersweet feeling to leave behind such an important chapter in my life to make room for the new one. After speaking with friends in a similar position, it was a sigh of relief to find out that I wasn’t alone in this feeling. They also felt slightly lost and apprehensive when starting their first job after graduating. I’m not sure why I felt like this, because I always knew that after university I would go out and find a job, but when reality hit that I’ll likely be working until I’m at least 70, I felt dejected.

Having said that, this transition was also exciting and liberating. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted, and I loved having this new-found freedom. I felt accomplished and proud to have secured myself a job at such a well-known and successful company as Dell Technologies. On top of this, I was more than ready to not be a student anymore and earn myself some decent money!

One thing I found helpful when coping with this big life change was taking the graduate scheme role rather than the standard ISR role. It has provided me with the additional support that I didn’t know I needed or wanted, and also helped me form bonds and friendships with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

The reason I am being so honest and not sugar coating my experience is that it’s important for young professionals to know that it’s okay to not have everything figured out by the time you graduate. If you feel nervous or a bit out of place during the first few weeks at a job, that’s okey, it’s normal. Give yourself time to adapt and settle in.

My first few months at Dell Technologies

My first week at Dell Technologies was a whirlwind. I attended the FRS Cascade on my second day, which felt crazy, but a good kind of crazy. It was a great event to attend so early on as I had the chance to meet lots of new people. It was my first opportunity to properly network with other professionals, and not surprisingly I got a bit trigger happy with the connect button on LinkedIn!

The following Sunday, I flew to Dublin to begin my 4 weeks of graduate training. I remember sitting in my hotel room slightly overwhelmed, but feeling content at how lucky I had been already.

The month in Dublin flew by and was made more fun by the fantastic group of people I got to spend it with. Our training group was made up of graduates from all over. We had representatives from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Slovakia. From the very start, I could see that Dell Technologies was a workplace full of diversity and culture, something that I found very appealing. Returning to Wales after training was slightly deflating. Even though I was more than ready to be back in my own bed and raring to properly start my job, I was gutted to leave behind new friends.

Looking back, I think I found my feet very quickly. I truly believe this was a result of having my lifelong friend by my side from the day one. Having a familiar face in the office was comforting. She has always has been a solid support system for me, in and out of work. I was also given a fantastic mentor/buddy who has helped me learn and understand the role and company. To this day he is still willing to answer all my questions, and believe me when I say, I ask a lot of questions.

There was one thing that I struggled with during my first few months at Dell Technologies and this was the tiredness. No one warned me quite how tiring it was, which seems silly when my job entails sitting at a desk all day. As a very sociable and extroverted person, I really pushed myself to fill my weekends with plans to see friends, family and my boyfriend. But in hindsight, I think I overloaded myself and around Christmas time I crashed and burned. I learned from this and I now make sure that I give myself enough down time to relax and recuperate instead of packing in plans every spare minute I have out of work.

8 months in

It’s safe to say I feel a lot calmer and settled now. I’m not exaggerating when I say Dell Technologies is one big family that makes you feel welcome the moment you step through the door. The relationships I have built with my fellow graduates, colleagues and customers has solidified that applying for a job at Dell Technologies was the right decision for me.

I work in a small office in Newport, South Wales. There are only 12 of us based there. We are all a similar age and get on like a house on fire – which is a huge relief considering we spend 37 hours a week together. We socialize outside of work and all support each other as if we have been friends of years. I don’t think you come across a dynamic like the one in my office very often and I’m grateful that I can be a part of it. I’m thankful for my colleagues because they’re a big reason why the worries and fears I first had have completely subsided and why I am so happy at Dell Technologies. The culture we created in our little office is a pleasure to be in. The only downfall being in such a small team is the lack of ERG’s. I would love to get involved with initiatives such as Gen Next, Women in Action and Planet, but unfortunately, we don’t have the facilities or resources here.

What do we look for in an employer?

What an employer must bring to the table is constantly changing. What would draw my fellow graduates and me into taking a job now, will be very different to the graduates in a mere 5 years. After speaking with other graduates and old university friends, I have found 6 key things that would entice us millennials to apply for a job.

Flexibility

Now I can’t talk for all my peers, but I live by the motto; “work to live rather than live to work”. A work-life balance is very important to me and it’s an idea that has been reciprocated by those in management roles within Dell Technologies. The typical 9-5 office constrained job is slowly disappearing as the workforce transforms to suit the needs of its employees. This change is fundamentally being driven by millennials. We desire the ability and resources to excel at our job from any location, stemming from the need to create a healthier work-life balance.

I recently read an article on LinkedIn that highlighted that many workplaces are changing by giving their employees more time off to enjoy life. This extra time off means that they are generally happier, resulting in a positive effect on their commitment, motivation and performance at work. It’s a win-win in my opinion.

Diversity

As previously mentioned, a big appeal for myself and many of my peers is a diverse workforce. Living in such a multi-cultural and diverse country as the UK, seeing this reflected in the workforce and culture of a company is so important. This is something I’m happy to say that Dell Technologies celebrates. I’ve met people from all walks of life and experienced so many ways of living. When attending the first F2F event in Lodz, Poland, I was able to meet and socialize with other graduates from 20+ different countries, every one unique in their own way. It was truly humbling to be among such diversity.

I would expect diversity within a company and to be honest if it was something they didn’t have it would deter me from applying.

Modern Technology and Facilities

Having grown up surrounded by technology, I would be much more drawn towards a job that offers modern facilities and technologies to support my work. I was more inclined to apply for universities which had the best resources and facilities and I kept this mindset when applying for post graduate jobs. Those who have experienced their entire lives through smartphones and similar technologies are entering the workforce in the near future—the demand for employers to have modern technologies is only going to increase.

Opportunity

When interviewing for a job, one of the first questions I ask is in regard to the opportunity to progress through the company. If there isn’t any, it would be a major factor in deciding if the job is right for me. While this is something that has applied to all generations, I believe it’s felt much more keenly by millennials. Moving into such an uncertain world and economy and possibly saddled with a large amount of debt, it’s important to know that the company you are putting your time and hard work into cares about you and will encourage you to develop your skills.

Travel

One of my favorite things about working for Dell Technologies is the opportunity to travel. Since September I have visited Dublin, Lodz and Krakow and will be going to Montpellier next month. I always knew that I wanted to see the world and if I could do so when I was working, then I would take every opportunity to do so.

Whenever I meet with friends, they constantly tell how lucky I am to be able to travel with my job and how they wish they could do the same. I do believe that this is more of a luxury than a necessity, but the idea of travelling and seeing different countries and cultures is an attractive offering from an employer.

Being eco-friendly

We are amidst a climate change crisis and our planet is at breaking point—it’s important for large corporations to do all they can to be sustainable and eco-friendly. I would always favor a company who shows care and concern for the effects their business has on the environment and acts against it. Dell Technologies’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility was one of the main factors in why I decided to apply.

Advice I would give to future grads

If I could go back to my newly graduated self and give her some advice it would be the following; be open minded, change isn’t always a bad thing and these changes will let you meet the most fantastic people and give you experiences you’ll treasure for life. Take risks. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will only help you grow and realize your true potential. It might be scary at first, but it’s worth it in the end. Don’t let a lack of knowledge about something put you off. You will learn, and you will feel so proud and accomplished for doing so. You’re going to be super tired for a while, so stop watching Netflix and go to sleep before 11pm. Take every opportunity thrown your way, it will help build your confidence. Lastly, apply to Dell Technologies – you most certainly won’t regret it.

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