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Facebook's HR chief shares her best career advice for 20-somethings

Lori goler facebookFacebookFacebook’s VP of People Lori Goler.

Facebook’s VP of People Lori Goler recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review that “Facebook holds the distinction of being the first Fortune 500 company to be founded and led by a millennial, and we pride ourselves on having built a workplace that is designed by and for this generation.”

Facebook would not disclose how many of its roughly 12,000 employees across 65 countries fall into this 20s to early 30s demographic, but Goler said the demands of a younger workforce align with those of all generations, so everyone benefits.

When Business Insider asked Goler for her best advice for young professionals, she said: 20-somethings need to embrace experimentation and reflection.

“Sometimes it takes trying a few things to understand which elements are the ones that you enjoy the most,” she said.

Goler recommended that you be mindful of the days you leave work feeling happy and fulfilled. Ask yourself, what specifically caused that?

Take the time, she said, to keep track of what engages you; this will allow you to excel and contribute as much as possible to your company. Helpful questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you identify with your company’s mission?
  • Do you desire work that has a tangible positive impact?
  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you want to collaborate with particular teams?
  • Do you want to give presentations?
  • Do you want to develop a new skill?

“It’s different for everyone,” Goler said. “That’s the beauty of it.”

She doesn’t see the fact that the average millennial spends only three years at a company as a negative, saying it reflects this generation’s pursuit of meaningful work. If it takes several different jobs to find what sticks in order to discover what is enjoyable, then so be it.

She cited Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech, in which the late Apple cofounder and CEO said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

That is, don’t feel pressured to plan out your career path. Accept that you will make mistakes and that there will be plenty of unexpected developments. But as you go through your career in its early days, always be mindful of where you are, how you got there, and where your passion was engaged during that journey.

It’s a simple approach, but one that is too often absent in the “vacuum” of a job, Goler said. It requires an extra degree of mindfulness, and it will improve your life.

“If you are doing work you enjoy, lots of good things happen,” she said.

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