Young Money: Mailbag time
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • July 25, 2012 @ 10:18am
Over the past few weeks, I’ve received great reader questions about young professional life in Western New York. I thought this week’s blog would be the perfect time to answer a few of them.
Caitlin, I just moved to Buffalo and am looking to make new friends as well as new business connections. What are some good ways to meet other young professionals? – New in Town
Dear New in Town,
Summer is the perfect time to be active in Buffalo. Just look at the calendar section of Buffalo.com and each week is full of events every night. From free concerts to weekend festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the town and meet people who have similar interests as you. Professional groups are also a great way to meet people. Not only are they a good way to make professional connections, but you can form lasting friendships from these groups as well. Organizations like Emerging Business Leaders, Buffalo Niagara 360, Social Media Club Buffalo or Advertising Club of Buffalo are perfect ways to meet a large amount of people in one night. There are also plenty of groups for young professionals based around certain industries like young CPAs, Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group—and yes, even the young librarians. There truly is a group for everyone. So get on out, start mingling and making new connections.
Caitlin, I know I’m ready for the next big step, but I never seem to get the opportunity to prove myself in the office. How do I step up without overstepping and make it known I’ve got the skills to be an asset in the office? – Ready to Roll
Dear Ready to Roll,
Good for you for knowing that you’ve got the talent that your office needs. Your challenge now is to prove it subtly, not shove it down their throats, and make your bosses think it was their idea from the start to give you the big break you need. Volunteer for any project, big or small, that comes your way. By proving no task is beneath you, or above you, you’ll become indispensable to everyone. Next thing you know, you’ll be the go-to person in the office, solidifying your place on the staff.
Caitlin, I read your last column on Change and it brought to light an issue affecting my own office life. My title unfortunately does not always reflect my status or responsibility in the office. I’m afraid that this could be negatively affecting the way not only clients, but co-workers, view my role. How do I change their views of me? – Under-appreciated in Aurora
Dear Underappreciated in Aurora,
First things first, I’d talk to your boss about a change in title. Come from a position of strength. Don’t whine about how your current title negatively affects you; instead, talk about how you’ve put in the time and effort to deserve the upgrade. Always play to your strengths, especially when it comes time for a review. If that doesn’t work, then forget about the title. Don’t lead with it when meeting new clients. Instead, let them ask you what you do for the company – and don’t be shy about telling them. This is a great way to remind co-workers, new and old, of your value in the organization as well. When you can describe what you do, it often has a much bigger impact than your title anyway.
At the end of the day, make sure you’re taking an honest assessment of yourself and your work. There is a chance that your boss may not agree with you about your work product. Don’t let that discourage you. Instead, let it push you forward into working harder to prove that what you think is the reality.
(Header photo courtesy of Flickr / Marcin Wichary).