When it comes to clothing, there are two things I love wearing. Black, and anything else that goes with it. Some days I get lucky and my wardrobe spews out top to toe monochrome and I am ready and out the door in 45 minutes and other days I end up looking like a chess board or a waitress. But I am happy to say that most days than not I get it right and look elegant and sophisticated with minimal effort.
As you know, living life in the 21st century is fast, emotionally and physically draining. Most of us have so many other things going on besides a 9-5 such as furthering studies, running NPOs or trying to monetize blogs. Unless you’re trying to break into the fashion industry, it really isn’t practical to spend more than 30 minutes trying to figure out how to put an outfit together on Monday morning while trying to make it to an 8am meeting in peak Jozi traffic.
I frequently receive compliments on how I put my outfits together which is sometimes surprising as I don’t have a million pieces in my wardrobe. My number one secret is visualization (I have an idea of the image I want the clothes I wear to portray and create a theme around it thus always looking consistent and I don’t have to be in Ralph Lauren or Zara everyday). Something else that I do, which is very important when I buy clothing, is to make sure that my pieces can slot into multiple wears, thus ensuring that I maximize the ROI of my wardrobe, giving me more wear per item and versatility in the outfits I put together.
Here are a few pics of an outfit I put together which I have worn in the office. 3 simple pieces put together in a sophisticated way that works every time together, but most importantly, with other items in my wardrobe:
What is your favorite color to wear to work? I just love black because it’s both powerful and forgiving, and we all need a bit of both from time to time!
Once in a while a group of my trusted advisers spew out some pearls of wisdom and generosity becomes us as we share some of our greatest lessons. Considering that we are all about to all about to enter into a new year, groups of millennials around the world have also decided to take the plunge into the workplace environment. If you are new or seasoned in the workplace I believe that some of the tips below could stand you in good stead for carving out a successful 2017 (and hopefully career) and ensuring that you cross over with your sanity into 2018!
1. Stanbic IBTC CareerTip: Follow-up on all applications, phone conversations and interviews. Employers seek candidates who distinguish themselves by showing they are truly interested in the opportunity.
3. Read. statistics show that readers make better contributors to society ok? Don’t look for a link, just go buy a book.
4. Don’t do a 5 year plan. It limits the universe to opening up opportunities/ you seeing opportunities because you have now confined yourself to a 5 year plan cast in stone. High level have 2/3 objectives for each year that tie into your lifetime goals but always be on the hunt for an opportunity. Instead write down what you want to achieve.
5. Guard against societal pressure. Don’t allow peer pressure influence your spending and investing habits.
6. Focus. Don’t let minor problems distract you from your overall goal.
7. Find a place where you can grow with your tasks and where you are in an environment that supports your development.
8. From the get go, be vocal about your expectations in your role, this way no one is surprised or disappointed in the long run.
9. It’s very important to be deliberate about creating and managing your perception… yes be true to who you are, yes bring your whole self to work BUT, don’t forget that people understand other people from their frame of reference. So if you don’t think it is worth your time understanding how the people who matter in your career receive you, also be prepared to face the consequences thereof. People be petty AF yo!
10. Network, Network, Network! The value of your network is your net- worth. The success of your career moves comes from the quality of your network.
11. Since you are solely in control/ in charge of your career and its success thereof, be sure to always prioritize your happiness, your goals and your sanity (also considering karma, the circle of life, the universe, your conscience) because this isn’t a relationship, nothing has your back and nobody is actively looking out for your best interests 🙂
Lastly just to wrap it all up, something so profound that my mentor shared with me yesterday, during our telephonic conversation, that I feel is vital to share, is the importance of having open and honest career conversations. It is so important to always speak to what you want to be doing and where you see yourself, as opposed to fighting for a job. A job you already have, but your ideal career is a much more important discussion, this speaks to your desired state.
There is no doubt that many big corporates have begun to feel the effects from the entrance of millennials into their organisations. Recruitment agents and talent scouts have had to change and adapt to this new group of individuals entering the workplace (many of them for the first time) who behave in ways that have never observed before.
1. Millennials thrive in collaborative environments
Firstly, the brilliant thing (and something that will shock older generations) about millennials is this- we know that we don’t know everything and therefore, the more ideas and experts we have to work with, the better, and the easier for us because then everyone can play their part, brilliantly. The last thing that happens when we encounter individuals with more depth and knowledge than us is the threat of feeling disposable… or even worse- threatened. To us, it’s an opportunity to learn more and in some instances, the challenge of doing better and improving ourselves arises. You only know what you know and the minute you stop learning is the minute you start becoming useless.
An environment that rebukes team work or collaboration and promotes silos, is a destructive environment that millennials just cannot tolerate. The fact that I know the solution for another department’s problem but I am “not allowed to give it to them” simply baffles us because the way we think and operate goes beyond our tiny circles of influence, the ideas we have extend beyond the invisible departmental boundaries, silos and hierarchical structures. We work on Vision, Mission, Purpose- then we execute. I mean to be honest, who the hell should care that Mary’s boss had a tiff last week with Simon’s boss so now they aren’t on speaking or sharing terms and because of that, Mary shouldn’t be either. In fact, Mary’s whole team should begin to shun Simon’s and no resources shall be shared with then until further notice. How is this moving anyone forward?
To be honest, when organisations aren’t supportive of collaboration, it creates a selfish culture and an environment where trust is absent. When individuals are compensated based on personal performance on a group task, it creates an environment where people work together but essentially only have their own backs. So how can one truly and genuinely help their colleague if this is the remuneration system? The answer is- they can’t. So please stop telling us to be team players when we get nothing but betrayal for it.
2. Millennials honestly don’t mind doing coffee rounds
This is probably the best thing you could ask a millennial to do as it gives us the opportunity to get away from the desk where we’re bogged down with administrative tasks that our 3 year old nephews could do OR this could just be an opportunity to network during the round and possibly meet our next manager… so thanks 🙂
3. Millennials don’t mind making photocopies, thick- ass PowerPoint presentations or whatever else that sucks
“Millennials don’t just want to read the news anymore. They want to know what they can do about it”
As long as it isn’t useless, or something to occupy our time until you find something else for us to do. And also, as long as that small sucky thing, is crucial in the bigger scheme of things. In essence, let’s start doing more value work and less waste work. If we can fax to email, lets. If we can relay the same message in 6 slides as opposed to 20 then why not? Life is too precious to spend it not progressing and not doing meaningful stuff. Come now.
5. Millennials, when placed in traditional organisations are the key to converting your titanic into a jet ski, because let’s face it, those start up icebergs are sprouting up EVERYWHERE and they’re pretty awesome
Q: Who are big corporates biggest threats at the moment?
A: All of the organisations founded by 20- something year old masterminds that are sprouting up at the moment 🙂
So please stop killing us by bringing in 37 year old execs to tell you how to compete with Fintech start-ups. Stop hiring consultants and spending millions each year when the answers lie in your grad pools. Come now.
6. Millennials are loyal
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to .”
-Sir Richard Branson
So a lot of what I have read online about the issues many people face with my generation is our lack of stickiness in general. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Gone are the days where you will find a millennials sticking it through in a job to get an award for “10 years of service” never mind 5 years.
The difference between millennials and older generations is that unlike the ones who entered the workplace before us, security isn’t really a big career anchor among my generation. Many of us want to feel like we are significant and working towards a cause, something incredible. Yes the money is important, but we would rather go without it if it means that’s all we come to work for.
Millennials are more than capable of “sticking it through” but we need to believe that me matter, that our personal and career growth are just as important to our employers as they are to us and we need to believe that we are in environments with channels that are effective in wanting us to win not just for the organisation, but for ourselves as well.
The last thing millennials want to feel like is just an underpaid resource that must be seen and not heard. Firstly we were never raised this way and secondly, we believe we are great and you should to….’cause we really are! Hahaha
This millennials subject has been so fulfilling to write about. It is something that fascinates me because unlike some things that I need to fully research and understand, the foundation of millennials, who they are, how they think and how they operate, is something I understand at its core because I am one. I have also never seen so much consistency with the way a single generation reasons and operates. It is crazy. It is as if I’ve been cloned all over South Africa, the world actually (besides a few exceptions who I believe have either been transformed by the system or their voices have died)
I hope that my posts from these past two weeks have helped you either understands this incredible (and super crazy) generation or if you are also a fellow millennials, to actually help you see that you are not alone! I and many others stand in solidarity with you in this struggle as we try change the world, which we will :).