by Kendall Baggerly, Content Strategy Intern
Most of us have been there. The end of college, “I’m-about-to-start-a-career, where-do-I-go-next?” freakout.
As I prepared for my impending graduation, the question of what I wanted to do with my life began to bear down on me with alarming force. What did I want to do? I was set to receive my Bachelors Degree in Marketing – a degree with a variety of potential applications, but not much in the way of a clearly defined next step. Instead of being eager about the future, I found myself drowning in an ocean of uncertainty.
Many of the potential employers I considered could have been good landing (crashing?) spots. But, like so many other “entitled” millennials, I was looking for something more personally rewarding to start my career. Many of the jobs I looked at felt like anyone with a degree could have done the job. Did I really want to start my career in a cubicle, making cold calls, trying to promote something that didn’t ultimately matter? Nope. I wanted to feel like my work was actually contributing something to the greater good.
After weeks of searching through what felt like hundreds of potential jobs, I came to the realization that my standards were probably set a little too high. The prospect of a fulfilling beginning to my career was starting to look like a tall order. As a soon-to-be college graduate with little in the way of actual experience (save a few internships) maybe I would have to settle for that cold-calling job I so greatly feared. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?
One afternoon, as I sought to cope with a coffee and nice walk through the streets of downtown Encinitas, I passed by a window with a tagline that caught my eye: “building brands with purpose.” I stopped, read it again, and wondered, “What kind of company would make such a claim?” Noting the thinkPARALLAX logo, I looked them up and found that they were exactly what I had been looking for: a creative agency that helps companies promote their strategies for sustainability and social responsibility. They help build brands with purpose.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have found thinkPARALLAX. Many of the other recent college graduates I know haven’t been so lucky in their search. A few of my friends have “settled” into positions that they are less than enthusiastic about. Which got me thinking: why do so many people my age seem to have such high (unrealistic?) standards for a career right out of college?
I can’t speak for anyone except myself (although I like to believe I have a good finger on the pulse of my generation), but I know that I need to feel that what I am doing every day means more than a paycheck. My values are extremely important to me – and I want to utilize them as a drive for success.
Contrary to popular belief, my generation is extremely practical. We realize that we can’t single-handedly solve world hunger or save the environment. But that doesn’t preclude us from wanting to help companies who are striving for those goals. Working toward social good is incredibly motivating, and it keeps me energized while I’m at work. Instead of pushing products and services on people that they might or might not need, I get to play a small role in the process of making the world a better place.
As I see it, this is where companies with a focus on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) are ahead of the curve when it comes to reaching my generation. Potential employees, especially millennials, are looking for companies that go beyond a profit-only bottom line and actively promote social responsibility. In this sense, not only are companies reaping the benefits of giving back, they’re also fostering loyal employees who support their efforts along the way – a total win-win situation.
As many people who are much more experienced than me have observed, when a company fully integrates corporate responsibility into their business, they help society, the environment, and the people they work with. But (most importantly) they are also often helping themselves. They call it “generating shared value.” I call it smart, all the way around.
Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?