Hello New Graduates
Welcome to the Real World of taxes, graduate programmes, conferences, long client phone calls, and insurance. It’s not a pretty one. In fact, it often gets really, really ugly. Gone are the days where having four classes in a day was a justifiable complaint, when you could skip a lecture every now and then, where you spent all day and all night labouring over an essay like you were giving birth. Now you’re into what they have been complaining about for decades – the dreaded 9-5.
There are many things you won’t miss. The exams, the study, the essays, the meetings with lecturers or speaking out at seminars but the stress and emotions associated with them, they now come in different forms. You will still stress about writing papers, submitting reviews, passing interview questions or questions from your superiors. Deadlines still exist, as do hangovers, correct email etiquette matters now more than ever but it’s not all bad – in fact, you begin to relish evenings, weekends and bank holidays where you don’t have to come home to more work.
Sure, work life can be stressful but at least you’re spared of the constant fear of how your performance will impact your grade nine months down the road.
I’m out of college 18 months now and I’m in my first office job just over four months – I’ve had stints in shops and internships in the meantime – and I think I’ve learned more from being a so-called “professional” than a student. It’s as if college life prepared you for the basics but nothing can prepare you for everything that it contains.
I’ve prepared six lessons I’ve learned from the last few months of full time office work – including my internship – that I would have loved to have known when I graduated. Remember that starting a full time job is the first step on a very long ladder. You can’t see where it ends but you know that taking that step will bring you closer to whatever it is.