Former CEO Margaret Heffernan Reveals Career Advice for Millennials

The first few months after graduation are vital for any post-graduate.

Whether you're pursuing an internship, an entry-level position, or in the throes of an intense job search, taking small steps each day is critical to reach your short-term and long-term goals.

In her recent book, "Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes," former CEO and business writer Margaret Heffernan reveals how organizations (and their employees) can create a better work environment. 

Read on to learn about Heffernan's advice on professional growth, time management, and career decisions.

On building social capital
"Social capital is a form of mutual reliance dependency and trust. It hugely changes what people can do. This is true now more than ever. What you need are lots of people who know lots of different things. Collectively you're smarter."

Heffernan emphasizes that to grow social capital, one must strive to spend time with others.

On millennials not being an exception
"We talk about millennials in a language of exceptionalism. I'm a little skeptical about that. Digital intelligence and techno-savvy is an entry-level requirement. But without social capital, it won't get you very far."

On work hours and the necessity for breaks
"We think that if we work through the night, we're being very clever. We're not. We think we can work long hour — month after month, year after year — and that there won't be any wear and tear. But there is."

When it comes to harping on a particular problem or idea, Heffernan also suggests taking a break to "do something mind-numbingly dull" like folding laundry or walking the dog. With time, the idea will soon follow.

On importance of time management
"If you want to be profoundly more productive, separate those two. Do the thinking work uninterrupted, which will result in better work with less fatigue. And then do all the other stuff, comfortable in the knowledge that the real work is done. It will mean at the end of the day you'll feel less fried."

On advice she'd give her younger self
"Learning is fort the joy of learning; it's not for the certificate. You have to set your own agenda. Question everything. "Think for yourself. Think for yourself. Think for yourself. I'm really concerned that major institutions don't want people to think for themselves." 

Heffernan went on to stress the importance of being intuitive and forging your own path.  

"My advice to any young person starting out is: don't be a sheep. It's your life and your decisions, and you can't blame other people if you make the wrong choice. It's your choice."

Read more of Heffernan's advice here. 

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Photo Credit: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert via Getty Images