Yes& General

Seeking Opportunity and Growth Within Your Existing Role

Sierra Bass

We often hear about the stress of finding a job or even just enjoying a job—the culture, corporate politics, jargon, expectations, and the relationships established—but what we should be talking about is opportunity and growth within a company.

A first job is essentially a catapult into adulthood. Navigating a pool of jobs and the corporate waters for the first time can feel extremely exciting and daunting. Where to begin? The options are endless, especially in today’s climate of remote work. There’s no longer any demand to move to a new city, find housing, and start a brand new life all alone. Heck, we can work from anywhere! The overwhelming amount of freedom can feel chaotic and stressful, which is normal—something we all experience, yet something we can all overcome. Use this freedom as an opportunity to do what best benefits you—your aspirations, your desires, your wildest dreams, or even what gives you the best sense of order, financial security, and independence. But don’t let the fear of endless opportunity hinder your ability to have control over your own life.

The adaptation between school and a job can be a challenge in and of itself. After choosing your class schedule and pulling all-nighters, jumping into a 9-5 can feel like an alternate dimension. You might wonder, “How am I going to do this the rest of my life?” That’s why it’s so important to find a rewarding career that equally gives back what you put into it.

Working doesn’t have to rule our lives, though. Part of the adjustment is discovering self-discipline. Sticking to a routine, breaking old habits, and building new ones are no simple tasks, but once you find ways to make the most of your time, they can be very gratifying. Catching your footing in a first job, or any new job, takes time. It’s easy to let the voice inside your head tell you that you aren’t good enough, you made a fool of yourself, or you aren’t meeting expectations, but you were hired for a reason, so believe in yourself.

What happens once you get settled into your role? Well, it’s something I’ve asked myself and others lately. Yes&ers do an outstanding job supporting one another. Whether it’s taking time to teach a new skill, checking in personally and professionally, enabling us to meet new people across departments, or providing resources like LinkedIn Learning, there’s always another door to explore. And maybe that door isn’t standing right in front of you. Sometimes you have to look for it and walk right on in. Being in a junior or entry-level position doesn’t mean you have to wait for opportunity to find you. Now is the time to take the initiative.

Getting out of your comfort zone is what pushes you to grow, so you should be looking for experiences and opportunities to force yourself to do something new. Solving new problems, taking new risks, and connecting with people with different perspectives will open doors you didn’t even know existed. While the flexibility of the remote world is great for some, finding these doors can be challenging without daily in-person interactions, company happy hours, or team events. Having a conversation with your manager about short-term and long-term goals is a great way to keep them in the loop about career development and even challenge you through your work to improve.

It takes drive and determination to get out into the world and explore—even if you don’t know what you’re looking for. As a Junior Designer at Yes&, I have become comfortable and confident in my role. My curiosity was piqued about the creative writing some of our team does for the Yes& blog and client newsletter, The Ampersand. All it took was a quick message to see how I could get involved and contribute. Turns out, people are quite receptive when you want to pitch in and try something new! It was only a matter of days before I was able to exercise my creative writing skills that have been on the back burner while I focused on design. Now, here I am, writing away, sharing my personal journey on a platform to offer advice to other young creatives.

I met with a few of my colleagues about ways in which you can branch out and dive into new opportunities outside your day-to-day routine. Here are a few tips:

Be a fly on the wall. Sometimes it’s worth asking to join a call you might not necessarily be able to contribute to immediately, but it can be a learning experience, exposing you to new people and processes. And soon enough, you might become an asset to that team.

Ask a lot of questions to people you do and don’t know. Most people are willing to answer and give thoughtful responses if you just ask. And some will even set up a call to get to know you better.

Write it down. Take notes. In casual meetings, internal meetings, client meetings, in the shower… whatever you’ve got to do. Those ideas that pop into your head, but are quickly forgotten, are some of the best ideas, even if they don’t pertain to your specific role, department, or project.

Don’t hold back. Speak up, share your ideas. Don’t be afraid of what people might think. Advocate for what you believe in. Even if it’s something that might not work today or tomorrow or for a particular client, it might be something that could work for a different project or account.

Offer a hand. Whether it’s for someone on your team, in your department, or something you’ve never done before, taking initiative, being invested in supporting others, and being willing to try something new in favor of getting the job done without being asked goes a lot further than you think.

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

Sierra Bass
Junior Designer