Social Capital: Creating Value in the Workplace as a New Hire
By Rafael Torres, Creative Director, Fall 2019
You have the energy and drive to jump into projects head first. You’re well-intentioned and hungry – but you land your first job or internship and a week in you feel listless or out of place. Imposter syndrome creeps in and you start to really believe that you’re underqualified. Stop and reassess. Chances are that if you’re reading this you’ve walked the halls of Loyola’s School of Communication, which has given you the skills and network of support that got you where you are today. Better yet, you’ve likely walked through the doors of Inigo Communications, which endowed you with the resolve and wherewithal that all but guarantees your success in the communications industry. The only thing that’s missing is your sense of social capital in the workplace.
What is social capital?
Social capital is the perceived value that is ascribed to you based on a combination of your standards, moral values, trustworthiness, honesty, and reliability in the workplace. It’s unwritten and unspoken but will present itself in the way your peers interact with you, in the amount of responsibility you are given, and in the opportunities of advancement presented to you.
We’re all familiar with the cliché “I need the experience to get a job, but no one will hire me so I can get experience”. Well, once you have found professional employment, you still need to cultivate social capital through developing working relationships.
How can you build social capital?
The best part here is that you have a clean slate. Keep the work ethic that made you successful at Loyola and Inigo, and you’ll be well on your way.
Maintain your social capital. It is exponentially easier to create a positive image than to repair one. This is why we “under-promise and over-deliver”.
Most importantly, be the solution. Every sector of employment in every industry in every country in the world is really just people solving problems. If you are proactive and creative in your problem solving, you will be indispensable to the firm. If you are empathetic and willing to help others with the problems on their plates, you will be invaluable.
As you get older, you start to lose your capacity for ‘firsts’. When you’re born the entire world is new. Every sense, and color, and word is new to you, and you have the biggest capacity for ‘firsts’ that you will ever have for the rest of your life. Then as a child, you graduate to the ‘firsts’ that come with being part of culture and community, and still, you have an immense capacity for ‘firsts’. Now, you have all the benefits of your personal experience and autonomy and have developed your desire for learning and experiencing new things. Being new and young is not a hindrance- it’s your superpower. “Go Forth, and Set the World on Fire”.