If you are one of the lucky college graduates, you are finally ready to start your first real job. It’s important to realize that no matter how many summer jobs or work-study jobs you have had, nothing fully prepares you for the first “real” job out of college.
Armed with nothing but a college degree and a resume, many first timers are quickly disillusioned by the reality vs. myth in the workplace. No matter how good your grades, preparing for the workforce will be a jolt if you occasionally engaged in problem solving and basic communication skills while in college. It will definitely be a rude awakening if college was a 4 year party. So what happens when you land your first job?
Don’t worry about failure. Very few college graduates truly love their first job. Depending upon how long the job search took, some tend to pounce on the very first offer. Keep in mind that you are just getting your feet wet. You may end up going through a couple of jobs before you land a career.
Get over your fears of rejection and speak to the office veterans. Many times co-workers tend to “help” the newbie’s out by offering insider information. They share their version of who you should or should not talk to - often steering you clear of the office veterans. Don’t listen! These veterans have a wealth of information that they are more than happy to share if asked the right way. You may even end up with a new mentor.
Do remember that you will need to separate home from work. Remember in college when you could skip a class to drown your latest break-up by curling up in bed under the covers? Not so in the real world. You need to be at work, on time every day. Not only that, you need to leave your personal life at home.
If you don’t like it, grumbling and complaining to co-workers is NOT the way to go. Your co-workers are not your dorm mates or your best friends. Some offices can actually be a real cut throat environment. That sympathetic ear is actually a microphone in disguise. If you can’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it behind a “closed door.”
Finally, believe what you see - not what you hear. Depending on how desperate or knowledgeable the interviewer, you may be told things about the company that may not be exactly true. Did the interviewer call it a “family-friendly” environment? Does your manager have little patience for any family related emergencies? The company idea of “family-friendly” may be offering a family health insurance plan.
It’s important to remember college is extremely different from the workforce. Don’t worry if your first job is not the career you hoped. Trial and error will lead you to the perfect career for you.