First Year On The Job. Check.

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Today marks one year at General Motors! Wow, what a year it’s been. I was quite hesitant to take the job to begin with but my mantra is and always will be, never get comfortable; and manufacturing communications was far from that. Thinking about the amazing things my team and I have accomplished this year, the people that we’ve helped, customers we’ve touched, I’m so grateful to be able to work for a company like GM.

I’ve learned a lot; a lot about myself, leadership, home ownership, work-life balance, and SO much about cars. Here are nine lessons I learned during my first year on the job:

  1. Working with others can teach you how to communicate effectively. This is one I’m still working on and trying to hone in on. I’m a public relations professional surrounded by a sea of engineers and sometimes messages take three times as long to craft because I’m trying to understand them first. From dissecting acronyms to double and triple checking with the SME, I quickly learned how to work with others outside my function. On the other end of that, it’s been just as important teaching others the value of communications and public relations.
  1. You need a Go-To Colleague. Immediately after beginning my job, I had a colleague reach out to me in a simple email that said, “If you need anything, I’m here.” I don’t know if she expected me to take her up on that time and time again; but she has been my go-to for ironing out crazy ideas, de-stressing from uncomfortable meetings and has been a wealth of knowledge.
  1. Get Creative. Some of my greatest projects have come from the craziest of ideas. In college, everyone said corporate PR was slow-paced and lacked flexibility and creativity. This year is proof that at GM, that’s not the case. Check out this mural. Or this video; all proof that with great management and team support, creativity wins.
  1. First impressions matter. This one is simple. Sit at the table, introduce yourself, smile and stay engaged.
  1. GM hires some of the smartest people I know. Every meeting, every conference call, every press release, I am amazed by the ideas and innovation and the people behind them.
  1. Hard work is just that…HARD. The projects, events, requests never end. I have learned so much about balancing it all and it will always be a struggle, but my favorite moments are those when an event goes off without a hitch. I come back to my office. I sit down at my desk and just breathe. Yes, the work is difficult and hard but it’s always worth it.
  1. Managers matter. I’ve been lucky. Very lucky. My manager and leadership teams are extremely supportive and thoughtful. From challenging me to think differently to encouraging me to take a break once in while, I’m starting to understand and see the difference between good leaders and bad ones.
  2. Keep a YOU ROCK folder in your inbox. Anytime I get a good email, compliment, reward, bonus, etc. I put the email into a folder called, “YOU ROCK”. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I sift through them. It’s encouraging to read when you need a burst in motivation and energy.
  1. Done is better than perfect. Efficiency is key. I’ve learned to not waste time on projects that don’t need to be perfect. I still struggle with this one but I’m definitely getting better.

I’m looking forward to the bountiful lessons I will learn in the years to come. Thanks to everyone who had an influence.

What are the most impactful lessons you learned at your first job? Share them with me in the comment section below!

XO Courtney

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