It’s a good feeling when years of hard work pay off. On Monday, I was named as an associate of RNL. While this means something different at every firm, I thought I would share a little bit about what it means here, and what I think made it happen. The title of Associate gets me more involved in the “behind the scenes” stuff they don’t teach us in school. Ins and outs of business decisions and the general direction of the firm are all things I will find myself more involved in. I will be more of a player in the game, rather than just a spectator on the sidelines.
I have been here just over 3 years and have managed to make a name for myself in a relatively large firm in a rather difficult economic climate. In my case, job performance, a can do attitude, a unique personality and participation in extracurricular activities are among a number of things that contributed to the recognition. There is also something to be said for taking the initiative. I was fortunate enough to be staffed on a very challenging project. I leveraged this good fortune and took the initiative to learn everything I could; necessary knowledge and tools to effectively do my job. Through this process, I completed my IDP and was licensed in Texas and Colorado with just over 2 years of professional experience. Regardless of your views on licensure, getting it taken care of shows the value I placed on the credentials and the commitment I have made to the profession. Additionally, staying active in the community through charity work, personal involvement in projects I am passionate about and AIA involvement were items that stood out.
I encourage you to consider how important it is to differentiate yourself from those around you. If you are still in school, how can you make your project stand head and shoulders above those of your classmates? What is it that makes your work special? What is it that makes YOU special? How can you take what is unique about you and let it shine through your work? When material goes up on the wall, what is it that will make people gravitate towards your work, and not the presentations on either side?
For those of us in the working world, it takes more than just showing up and doing your job to get noticed. Unfortunately, I think my generation has become one of entitlement. But it is no longer enough to just show up and expect that all that we want to have (or expect to get) will be given to us once we have checked the appropriate boxes. We need to be willing to put in the extra time, volunteer for assignments that will stretch our skills, and accept just enough rope to hang ourselves. It’s what you do with the rope that will set you apart. Donate a Saturday to a Habitat build day, raise money for a charity you identify with, or build something amazing out of donated cans of food. Strive to be the best at what you do, and always take the time to help those that look to you for advise or assistance.
What is going to get YOU noticed?