Powerful Women Explain How Millennials Are Thinking About Their Careers All Wrong
Shoot for the moon! Reach for the stars! Do what you love!
Many millennials grew up hearing that they can and should achieve whatever it is they desire. So perhaps it’s not a surprise that their early jobs often fall short of their expectations, leaving them unengaged and uninspired, according to research.
Fortune asked some of the members of our Most Powerful Women community to weigh in this phenomenon—and to give their best advice to young professionals looking to succeed and find fulfillment at work.
Much of the counsel that has been given to millennials can “feel a little prettier” than what the real experience of workplace is like, explains Maggie Neilson, co-founder and CEO of Global Philanthropy Group.
But not loving your job right off the bat doesn’t mean you won’t find professional success. “It’s not like when you’re 24 and if you’re in a crummy job, that’s a bad thing or you’re not going to make it to exactly where you want to be,” Neilson says. “The formative experiences I had weren’t my passion at all, but I needed a job.”
Moreover, many young people today think of their careers in terms of two- or five-year stints. Instead, they should be thinking about the long term, says Lynn Jurich, co-founder and CEO of Sunrun. “Think about your career as a 40-year career, a 50-year career,” she says.
Shelley Broader, CEO of Chico’s FAS, notes that it’s only toward the later stages of professional life that people tend to find their true calling. “Every job that I had probably until I was 40 or 45 years old, I considered a resume-builder,” she says. So instead of stressing about your current role and what it’s lacking, think about the wider spectrum of opportunities out there.
“If you’re focused on one ladder, one rung at a time, when there are thousands of other ladders that are available to you with maybe less people trying to climb them, you’re really narrowing down your opportunities for success,” says Broader.
Subscribe to the Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for powerful women.
Finally, don’t assume that you already have all your goals figured out: “You don’t know what your passion is. You think you know what it is, but if you aren’t exposing yourself to different people and different thoughts and different functions and different ideas, you may never find your real passion,” says Neilson.