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Graduation Season is Upon Us: Advice to People Starting Their Careers

Rocket Software

May 23, 2023

Every week on Digital: Disrupted, our guests are asked to offer their advice to people embarking on their careers. With graduation season upon us, we wanted to share advice from our past guests on what they would tell those who are just beginning their career.

Check out our guest’s advice below, as well as advice from our team.

“Embrace the challenge! As I reflect on my career journey, a consistent theme was saying ‘yes’ to those career moves or projects that took me out of my comfort zone and gave me new experiences and learnings. Sometime those learnings made me realize this is something I really don’t want to do again, but I learned from the experience. Learning can come in many forms – learning from others about business and technical acumen, but also about leadership styles and how to lead others. 70% of your experience is based on your manager, so developing the skills needed to be a good leader and coach is a critical ingredient for future career success. So, my advice is simple – say yes, learn, and embrace the challenge.” – Julie Law, Chief People Officer of Rocket Software

“What I would tell folks, and what I would tell a younger me, is focus. Focus on your strengths. Focus on your passions. Focus on what really matters to you. Don't worry so much about how it looks on your resume or building a career to please someone else's perspective on what you think is right. Just do the thing that you actually know you want to do and that makes you happy and gives you a sense of satisfaction. Ultimately, that is a path to success.” – Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, CEO of Grammarly

“My advice is really simple, and it's consistent, and I'm pounding it into my two young boys that are trying to get internships. Two things. One, curiosity, two, tenacity. That is it. You have those two things, and you check yourself at the end of every day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year. And you measure your level of curiosity and tenacity and if it's off the charts and you've done everything you can in those two buckets, you will have a profound career.” – Andy Byrne, CEO of Clari

“Just get into it. Just believe in yourself. Go all in.” – Chris Duffey, Author of Decoding the Metaverse: Expand Your Business Using Web3

“Focus on learning by doing and from others because it's an investment in yourself. I think often in a world of choice, at least for those that are able to, sometimes it's better to choose a learning opportunity over one for slightly more income because I think it pays dividends over time.” – Aaron Painter, CEO of Nametag

“Be vocal. Nobody knows what's going on in your mind, so be vocal with your questions, your opinions, your hopes, your desires, your expectations. People want to help you, but they don't know how to help you and they're never going to think about helping you until you give them some kind of framework or opportunity to help you. So, if you wait for somebody to notice you or to do the work for you, you're going to be waiting a very long time.” – Jim Frawley, Author of Adapting in Motion: Finding Your Place In The New Economy and Founder of Bellwether

“Try not to overthink it too much. Try to do what you enjoy, do what you're going to be successful at, and that's going to provide you with happiness and the success will come along with that. Know that you can course correct, what you decide to do tomorrow isn't going to set you up for the rest of your life. Do what you enjoy and be ready to pivot if you need to.” – Doug Barbin, Chief Growth Officer and Managing Principal of Schellman

“I would say get on the steepest learning curve you can handle at any given time. Your life only gets more complex as you age. So, try to lean in as much as possible early in your career to learn as much as you can. Learning has compound interest that pays over the course of a career more than early compensation wins. I think early learning wins give you the best platform for long-term success.” – Liz Grausam, Head of IEX Cloud

“Do something where you can add value and also do something where you can learn and develop your own skillsets. And after that you'll pivot many times in your career. I started life as a musician, went on to computer science, been through various things through my life, but at every stage, make sure you are enjoying what you're doing, make sure you're adding value, and obviously people appreciate that value and you're learning, and it opens up from there.” – Paul Jeremaes, Co-founder of WorkLife Flow and Author of Enter Your Flow: An Interactive Journey Toward Fulfillment and Happiness in Your Work Life

“Fail. I think that it's not such a drama to fail as early as you can. The most relevant things that I've learned, I've learned them in the hardest times and the toughest challenges. I think that not having the fear of failing is going to allow you to innovate.” – Nico Avila, Chief Technology Officer of Globant

“Passion, just really having a passion for what you do. And if you don't have a passion, find within what you do, the passion, there's so many different things that you do on a daily basis, but if you can harness that passion, I think you'll go far.” – Louwki Coetsee, Group Vice President of Netsurit