Over the last few months, many college grads have been posting about final exams and graduation celebrations on Instagram and Twitter, and I have celebrated along with you! I recognize mixed feelings across the country Some of you are relieved, others are thankful and mostly everyone is excited about the future although they realize that they face uncertainty. Now the work years are looming ahead. It is a daunting thought after seeing parents and grandparents work for a lifespan, often not retiring until 40 to 50 years later. The workplace can be a difficult place to navigate and many of you will start with limited experience. I’ve created tips and tools about how to approach the workplace, get to know coworkers and control your personal performance. This blog prepares you for the workforce. I also suggest picking up my book on Amazon called First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates and begin now to absorb this easy read. www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html In the meantime, here are three pieces of advice that I can give you today after you receive that diploma.
ONE – Don’t crash into your workplace reality with a feeling of doom. Student loan payments, monotony and boredom are the largest frustrations I see for college graduates. Like a postgraduate degree, your first job is another 2 to 3 year growth experience. It is not the rest of your life. This is still a tremendous opportunity to grow and learn, test your ability to perform and evaluate if your major was a good fit after all.
TWO – Get some financial advice. I suggest adopting a frugal mentality your first year. Building up some savings and paying down debt will have more impact on your financial health 20 years from now than you realize. Take pride in what you can save and how you could conservatively approach expenses like cars, eating out and apartment furnishings.
THREE – Although you will miss your old friends at college, take this opportunity to seek out new friendships. Relationships built early will lead to these colleagues endorsing and supporting you in any work situation. Your work friends become allies and as your career progresses, you will need this support network to survive changes in the economy and changes in management.
I congratulate you for all of your accomplishments! Keep in touch with this blog and let us know what your are experiencing.
Early on in my career, I purchased a DayTimer planner. I kept in it all the important information: contacts, meeting notes, my calendar and technical rules of thumb. When I found myself in a difficult situation, particularly one that I created, I wrote it down to remind myself never to do it again. This summer, I will be releasing my first book, based on a collection of experiences throughout my career.
This retrospective look created an introspective environment. Consider starting a journal of your own. The journal doesn’t have to be in a leather bound book or even a fake leather three ring notebook!. It could be an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper that you wad up and stick in the pocket of your book bag. Write down a key phrase to remind you of a recent experience, particularly those that went very well or poorly. The experience will likely be imprinted in your mind forever, and by reading the key work or phrase, you will have immediate recall, especially if it was embarrassing or harmful. Take it out, read it and shove it back in your book bag, once a week or once a month. By taking a look back at your journey, you can plan for your future.
You have a job, and it is time to get to work. Your studies, your internships, your essays and your parents’ guidance now fall away, and from this day forward, your career depends on your personal commitment. Will you rise to the challenge?
Congratulations! With a diploma in hand and hopefully a set of car keys or a train pass in another, you will be starting you new job soon! Favor this blog for tips on how to make the transition from the academic world to the business environment. All your hard work has paid off! I am sure your parents are proud and relieved!
HlpSum1 Graduation Pic
In college, we need to succeed as individuals. You took the college entrance exam without help. Your diploma had only your name on it. Even if you work amid teams, at the end of the semester, each person has their own personal GPA. Transforming to a team-oriented approach will take some practice. Remember this quick expression – “There is no “I” in team”. When something isn’t going right at work and your frustrated by the meeting, the phone call, the presentation, the training, remember that you have a new agenda now, fitting in with your colleagues is more important than ever.
After a conversation with someone, think back on how many times you used the word “I”. How can you change it to the word we? Did you feel like you just had to get something off your chest and didn’t really listen to the other side? Did someone make a suggestion on a different way to present information and you just wanted to do it your way? This is all a part of transforming to the “we” environment Putting others first and learning to work better with others will take some practice at work and at home. If this is starting to sound too deep, and you are beginning to feel like you are losing your identify or individualism, recognize that succeeding as an individual is critical to succeeding as part of an organization.
Good luck and check back with HlpSum1 – Business Learning Beyond the Classroom for your personal survival guide!