Adjusting to Life After College in Real World Workforce
One of the biggest challenges for recent graduates entering the workforce is bridging the gap between their perception and the reality of real world corporate work. Expectations seldom match outcomes and perceptions often battle with reality. However, new hires who understand job requirements, social standards and practices of their new environment, will fly high into their new future.
Crash Course for Perception Gap
Surviving in the workforce is difficult for new graduates transitioning from college. Thriving in the workplace can be a whole other challenge. Being aware of how a company works and what it expects can make the difference between surviving and thriving. Below is a crash course in flourishing in the workplace after college.
Know Company Culture-Companies each have an individual workplace culture that has long been in play. Some companies are more relaxed and casual while others are more strict and traditional. As graduates look for jobs in their fields, they should research the philosophy and environment of future employers.
- Find an employer that syncs with personal beliefs and comforts.
- Observe other employees and copy behavior and dress.
- Look for jobs that feel comfortable while still being challenging.
- Understand personal limitations. (A person who needs strict guidelines to finish work shouldn’t work for a company with flexible hours or workspaces.)
Understand Job Requirements are Just the Beginning- Often new graduates look at job requirements as being the basis for their entire job. That is never the case. Job requirements are always a starting point. New graduates can stay ahead by:
- Fulfilling work requirements and look for other work opportunities.
- Staying busy. If one task is finished, go on to another task or offer help to other workers.
- Never thinking of any task as being beneath the position or not part of the job requirements.
Remember! New hires that work hard and exceed expectations will be rewarded.
Don’t Expect to Fly Up the Ladder- The corporate path is called a climb for a reason. New hires should not come in expecting to be promoted immediately. True success often takes hard work, long hours, and time. Along the way, new graduates will find enriching experiences and network connections that will be rewarding for years to come.
Networking is Important- It is impossible to tell the future, so, for any worker, networking is everything. Today’s junior member of a team could be tomorrow’s CEO. Remember these things when talking to coworkers:
- Don’t get drawn into gossip!
- Say positive things.
- Be supportive
- Be trustworthy.
- Be reliable and knowledgeable, don’t spout unsupported facts!
Following these guidelines will lead to a reputation that speaks for itself.
Keep Work and Personal Life Separate- New graduates often mistake professionalism for friendship or become too casual with coworkers. Colleagues can become friends over time, but new hires should remember to keep everything professional. Don’t talk about:
- Don’t talk about personal relationship problems.
- Weekend parties or plans.
- Hobbies that may interfere with work.
- Political beliefs unless it’s part of the job.
- Religious beliefs unless it’s part of the job.
- Opinions on other coworkers or bosses.
Eventually, the wrong person will hear and share this information with an executive who is in charge of raises or promotions.
Anyone Can See Social Media- Coworkers, bosses, and CEOs can see the latest escapades of any employee. Keep social media pages respectable or expect consequences. REMINDER – Social Media can get you hired or fired!
Avoid Social Media Posts of:
- Lewd comments
- Activities that take place during work hours
- Images of Work or Coworkers at Work, unless part of the job
- Political or Religious issues
- Unprofessional Behavior or Dress
Being an individual outside of work is of course allowed, but it is important to remember that employees represent their workplace both on and off of work.
Exceed Expectations with Realistic Perceptions
Transitioning from college is a huge challenge, especially for new graduates. Understanding employer expectations will help any new hire conquer the workplace. Being educated and prepared for job requirements while staying professional creates career opportunities new graduates can use to succeed.
New employees should ask questions, take notes, be involved and engaged and then perform the duties given.