People in their early or mid-20s are entering the workforce in droves. This group has certain idiosyncrasies that have never been witnessed in previous generations. Understanding them and learning to collaborate with them will be a critical challenge for many organizations as this age group becomes the mainstay of our workforce within the coming decades.
Increasingly, I’m encountering a lot of representatives from late Generation Y and early Generation Z in professional settings. Most of my young colleagues and acquaintances are idealistic, tech-savvy, and feedback oriented. However, many of them prioritize work-life balance over maximizing their learning opportunities by refraining from taking on additional responsibilities.
I personally believe the first five years of our careers can play a pivotal role in our long-term professional success, especially for ambitious young professionals. Here are some of the key reasons why young professionals should be investing more in ‘on-the-job’ learning:
The industry-academia gap has been getting wider over the last few decades. Some of our skill sets taught at universities are already obsolete, requiring a significant investment of time in unlearning and relearning engagements.
Professionals in their 20s are at their peak in terms of cognitive abilities. Learning new skills becomes increasingly difficult as we age.
Taking on additional responsibilities increases visibility to senior management and consolidates the professional’s personal brand among colleagues and industry peers, facilitating faster career progression.
Exploring new areas by taking up diverse projects will help someone reflect on things that he or she likes or dislikes and help chart long-term career plans.