People often say when you graduate from college, you’re ending the current chapter of your life. However, the next chapter of your life doesn’t really start until you move onto something else. For most people, this means starting up a new job.
Beginning your first job is always exciting. Finally, those four years of college are paying off! You’ve survived the stressful interview process, showing the hiring manager you’re perfect for the job while getting a good feel for the company for which you could potentially work.
Like any big change, it takes time to adjust from college life to working life. Some things will catch you off guard, while other things will require you to handle them differently than you did in the past.
Seeing Older Co-Workers as Peers
My parents were pretty laid-back in their parenting, so when they were strict about something, you can be sure I didn’t disobey them. One of the things that they enforced from the time I was little was adults were to be addressed as Mr. or Mrs. — never by their first names. All throughout my childhood, I always addressed my friends’ parents as such, never referring to them by their first names (even if my friends called their parents by their first names). It’s just how it was — I respected the adults in my life, so I wanted to reflect that in the way I addressed them.
So it was a bit of a conflict of interest for me when I started working and had co-workers twice my age introducing themselves by their first names. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was the first time I’d ever had an adult recognize me as an equal, rather than a kid.
Legally, you’re an adult the moment you turn eighteen. However, most of us don’t feel like we’re adults until we’re done with college. Once you’re in the workforce, you’re seen as an adult. You can’t go around addressing your co-workers as Mr. Smith or Ms. Johnson. Whether they are in the entry-level with you or are in management, everyone generally goes by his or her first names.
Making Responsible Decisions with Your Paycheck
Getting a paycheck every two weeks is awesome. There’s nothing better than waking up on payday and knowing that your bank account isn’t empty. You can go buy the new clothes you want or get that video game you’ve been dying to play.
Until you remember you have student loans to pay. And then you remember your utility bill is due at the end of the week. And your car has been making a weird noise every time it starts… Being an adult means having adult responsibilities: bills. If you don’t pay your bills, you don’t get electricity or cable.
Budgeting is your most crucial asset in regards to your finances. It’s simple: don’t spend more than you earn. Figure out how much you need each month for essentials, set aside money for savings and then see if you can afford to splurge a little bit.
Dealing with Unpleasant Situations
Things are worth much more in the real world than they are in school. There were some things we all dreaded with class work — group projects, strict deadlines, unreasonable teachers. We’d complain, we’d try to make it work, maybe we’d skip the class for a while and eventually we’d drop the class if it wasn’t worth the effort.
You don’t have that luxury once you start working.
You’ll often have to work in groups in the office for projects. If you don’t carry your weight with your job, you’re not going to get a bad grade — you’re going to get fired. Suddenly, that C- doesn’t look too bad. You might have some coworkers you don’t like. You still have to work with them.
Part of being in the workforce is handling the things you don’t like in a mature, responsible way. As much as we’d love to yell at that person who leaves his leftovers in the fridge for weeks, that’s not the best way to handle the situation and will create more tension further down the road.
Setting into a Routine
In college, life can be a little unpredictable. Your classes change each semester, your evenings are dependent on how much homework or studying you have, and even your weekend plans could change in an instant.
One of the many nice things about having a job is knowing that you have stability in your life. You know exactly where you will be during the workweek. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you’ll be in the office. As you get more used to this, you’ll develop a pre-work routine and a post-work routine. For me, I read the newspaper as I eat my breakfast before work, and when I get home I turn on the TV and watch Friends reruns for an hour before making some dinner.
There will always be a little bit of unpredictability with work — you might have to stay late to finish a project or you might head out to a restaurant for happy hour with your coworkers — but generally things aren’t as hectic.
College is supposed to prepare you for the working world. In many ways, it does. However, there are some things that you won’t be ready for until you’re thrown into that position. Once you start your first job, you’ll have a period of time where you’re adjusting to everything — a new sleep cycle, figuring out a morning routine, meeting your new coworkers. You will get past that period. When that happens, then the next chapter of your life can begin.
If you are looking for a new opportunity with companies for full time positions in IT or temporary staffing, then reach out to FYI Solutions and they can help you find your next job!