Expectation vs. Reality – Early Career Decisions

Often, we go into certain situations, decisions, life choices with an expectation in mind and when that seems to wear off, we realize the reality of what we chose and the surprises that come along with these decisions. Experiences aren’t always what you set your mind on and reality isn’t always what you expect. Not in a good way nor a bad way but the way that we decide to visualize what is really going on around us. I start by mentioning experiences, reality and expectations because that’s exactly what I’ve gotten out of being in a program such as the HR Early Talent Program with SAP. Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself 24 just out of college and being exposed to as much as I have been in this short amount of time.

Many young adults, in college or not are out their wondering the exact question that I still think about on the daily “What do I want to be when I grow up”. It seems that we have finally reached that point of now that I am grown up, I must know. Reality is that I still don’t and that throws all my expectations off.

Getting the call of my acceptance into this program, I knew that this next year would come with many surprises and a whole lot of truths. First, setting the expectation of being able to adapt to new situations and teams. I knew that if I wanted to succeed and discover what it is that I want to do I have to dive deep in and learn everything I can about HR at SAP. How do you do this when this is your first ever exposure into the business? Reality, not the expectation. Take it day by day, learn and progress in an authentic way, don’t stress to much on what you don’t know and focus on all the things you can control.

Second, knowing exactly what you want out of this program and exactly what you will get. Reality, in no way will you know everything that you will get out of this program until you are fully and completely engulfed. In the first week, I flew to Waldorf, Germany met over 50 people in positions I didn’t even know existed. Within 1 month, I had dove into my rotations with full expectations to properly know and execute my position. Reality, it took much more time then that to meet my goals and feel comfortable in the shoes I needed to fill. By then end of my first rotation, I thoroughly felt that my expectations became my reality but much more then that because not only did I get involved with many facets of the business I also was able to create allies and talk to mentors that I still have and reach out to till this day.

The excitement of my first rotation came from being apart of the summer Internship Experience Project program and recruiting and hiring interns. Getting to be a small part of an interns exploration into the career decisions they will make after finishing their summer fed my passion for people. I was able to head multiple events from the east coast, mid-west, and in my home city, Bellevue. The event that I look back on and feel most proud about was our annual Women in Leadership dinner and working with top executives in the business. Working alongside the Internship Experience Project team, showed me that these individuals are some of the hardest and most dedicated people I have ever had the pleasure to work alongside of. Looking back on those last five months truly excites me for the future.

Entering this second rotation, I have found myself often back at the feeling of wanting to exceed my expectations like my first couple of months in the program. Realizing that it takes time has been more of a challenge this go around as learning another part of the business has become slightly more difficult to concentrate in. Reality is that you are never going to feel 100% comfortable in your career especially when you are putting on three different hats in 3 different roles in one year, but it is about overcoming those struggles and conquering the un-comfortably with pushing yourself to get involved and trying not to fall into the doubt you are having.This program has not only been a benefit for the career I am creating but also personally to push me towards a greater future of learning and becoming adaptable in the situations that I put myself in for the years to come. Expectations might overcome reality or vice versa but putting yourself out there and into new situations will often surprise you in the best way possible.

As I am thinking of my international rotation that is coming up in Germany. I find myself nervous but excited all at once, which is standard I would say. I tell myself daily of the amazing endeavors that I have coming up and to try and live in the moment and take everything as a learning experience. Trying my hardest to not set expectations and live in the moment is something I struggle with but knowing that this rotation will be eye opening and exciting is the most realistic I can try to be. All in all, this program has changed my mindset and is driving me to better future and to say I can’t wait to see what I will say a year from now based on my expectations vs. reality of this experience would be an understatement.