Adulting 101 with Renee White

Renee White is the Chief Financial Officer at Oak Hall and a New Memphis alum driving our city forward. Click here to learn more and start your application.

Remember when we were kids? Back then, our most stressful decisions involved breakfast cereal: Frosted Flakes or Fruity Pebbles? Now we’re all grown up with the world at our fingertips and bills in the mailbox. The questions have certainly changed, but the decision making hasn’t gotten much easier.

New Memphis asked if me I would share some career advice. I’ll be honest  ̶  I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some pointers that may help you along the way. First let me tell you a bit about myself so that you’ll know where I’m coming from.

I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting, passed the CPA exam, and spent the next five years working as an auditor for a global accounting firm. Today I serve as the Chief Financial Officer for one of the most respected and admired companies in Memphis  ̶  all by the age of 30.

I’ve achieved much in my world of numbers, but I still face my fair share of challenges, not least among which is writing. To ease the strain, I’d prefer to just have a heart-to-heart with my readers. I mean, we’re all in this together, right? This advice isn’t meant to be the be-all and end-all, but it might help you get on the right track.

So grab a glass of your preferred “adulting beverage” and let’s chat.

  • Genies don’t exist – Roll up your sleeves and get to work

Often this means working long hours or performing tasks outside of your job description. If you want to move up, find out what it takes to get there. Talk to the person in that position and ask them about their career path. See if you can shadow them or work together on special projects. Don’t be the one waiting on some magical genie to just give it to you, because you may be waiting for a while.

  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable – That’s how you grow

Take risks, no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel. Trust me: my first thought about writing this article was a strong no—but then I realized it could help me get out of my comfort zone. Here’s a suggestion: make a list of growth areas comprised of things that make you uncomfortable. Then, at least once a year, challenge yourself to cross something off.

  • Remember that saying, “no pain, no gain?” – Trust me, it’s real

Whether you’re 26 or 56, choose to learn from challenging experiences and make the most of them. If you fail, that just means you’re one step closer to your next success. The truth of the matter is that no one is going to conquer this adulting thing within a snap of a finger. We live in the Information Age, but the best knowledge is usually gained through experience.

  • Life is a journey, not a destination – Make sure you’re traveling in good company

Many people fear talking to strangers and will purposefully skip networking events. People, this is a huge mistake! Yes, I understand that walking into a place where you don’t know a single soul can be intimidating, but networking is truly the key to opening doors you didn’t even know existed. I highly recommend starting here because it can truly end up being a game changer in your adulting journey.

  • Know what makes you tick – Breathing is subconscious, but living requires intent

For some people, it’s money; for others, building a better community. Maybe your goal is to forge a happy family or cultivate meaningful life experiences. Regardless of the shape of your “why,” it’s important to figure it out sooner rather than later. It’s what will get you out of bed in the morning and keep you going when the going gets tough.

If you’ve gotten this far, it shows that you’re interested in self-improvement…and that’s a great start! Remember, there’s a learning experience in everything we do, and none of us have it all figured out. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (because I hear it’s a nice touch when you write an article). As Bob Marley once said, “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”

Ok, that wasn’t so hard. Now I’m off to reward myself for actually crossing something off my growth list!

Renee White is the Chief Financial Officer at Oak Hall and a New Memphis alum driving our city forward. Click here to learn more and start your application.