As I sat in my youngest sister’s graduation ceremony this past weekend, with my bouncing 3 year old in my lap, I had time to reflect on the advice that I would give both to her and to the class of 2017.

  • Work smarter. There is no trade off for hard work. But you must also set specific goals and then go after them at 110%. Focus on results, not just the hours you are putting in. At the end of the day, people won’t remember the hours your worked. They will remember what you achieved.
  • Live within your means. Set a budget that includes saving as much as you possibly can and then a little more. Put away the maximum contribution to your 401k, starting with your very first paycheck. You can’t miss what you never had. Get a credit card that pays you back. Pay it off every month. If that means you eat plain pasta with butter and cheese for a few days at the end of the month, so be it. When you are trying to buy your first house in a few years, you will be happy you maintained a strong credit score and put away a nest egg for that down payment and future retirement.
  • Travel. See the world. Enjoy the adventure. Travel opens your mind to new ideas and gives you an appreciation for all the many differences in our world. Immerse yourself in new cultures and bring your favorite part back to your own life at home.
  • If something is not working, change it. Every year I ask myself if I am happy doing the work I am doing. Do I have the learning experiences I need and want? Am I fairly compensated? Do I enjoy the people I work with? Do I feel challenged? Do I feel supported? If I answer no to any of the above, I seek a change. Luckily I have been able to make these changes within Protiviti as we have grown and expanded over the last 15 years. But, it is ok to look outside your current company too – and you should. When you make a decision to stay, you are that much happier because of it; and when you make a decision to go, be sure to join the alumni network as you just never know when you might come back.
  • Take time for you. Exercise daily. Get fresh air. Take walking meetings. Do the things you love – run, walk the San Francisco hills, spin, practice yoga; but definitely do something to get your heart rate up and sweat each day. It clears your brain and keeps you healthy, one step at a time.
  • Take time for your friends and family. Get to know your coworkers. Laugh together. Cry together. Build your tribe and maintain those relationships along your career journey.
  • Give back to others. Find your passion and support it. Recruit others to join you. Whether it’s hunger or education or curing cancer or other, find a cause and support it. This world is a better place because we support each other through all of life’s ups and downs.

To our Protiviti new hires, I can’t wait to see you this summer!  Enjoy your graduation and this special time celebrating with family and friends. We’ll see you in a few short months!

Pictured above is Elaine with her youngest sister Melinda at this past weekend’s graduation ceremony


Elaine Poucher
Director, Talent Acquisition

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