Congratulations! You are on your way to being an employee or a working professional (that’s better) from a being a student -whether undergrad or graduate. That’s as big a change as the change from being a single to being in a committed relationship. Perhaps bigger.
Your stay at school or university has given you some knowledge and some skills for using your knowledge. But all these have been mock drills. None of them could have prepared you for a different world. Your first job search can be very stressful, but also a great time for self-discovery.
So we might as well start with the new things which you will encounter.
There is no teacher
Like Alice in Wonderland you will have start figuring out who’s who at work. But none will ‘teach’ unless you are lucky and someone takes you under wings. That’s rare like snow in Sahara. You will have a boss (or two). About bosses later. But no one will tell you how. You will have to beg, borrow, steal, copy ‘how to’ from those round you. Unlike your school, Uncle Google won’t be of much help unless your job is ‘desk research’. So sharpen your skills of observation, cajoling, pleading, or begging for help.
There are assignments, yes!
There will be deadlines too. Sounds familiar? Wait. The deadlines can change from end of week to yesterday. The assignments themselves can be fluid. The reasons can be changes in market, your company’s working processes, crisis, or somebody did a bad job, or your boss’s whims.
You have a desk
Unless you are in a hot desking or work from anywhere type company, you will be marooned to a desk. The luxury of going from one class room to another will be no more. So make do with trips to coffee vending machines or water coolers. Instead of pinging your colleague move yourself to that desk. Standee meetings make for good relations. You will also get to know more. That’ll be a bonus.
There are no marks or grades
But you will be evaluated on the fly. You will be lucky if anyone shares that with you until the day of performance appraisal. You will be criticized without being criticized because no one wants harassment claims or loss of popularity. You will be praised without being appreciated. Go figure it out! Learn to rely on reading body language of your boss and your peers and even the janitor (they know a thing)
There are no classes
Yay! Wait. There are meetings. The meetings are used for any of the these (1) to tell you what could be told through email word excel powerpoint youtube (2) to discuss things without concluding (3) to discuss what has been concluded (4) loud thinking (by boss) (5) brainstorming (6) to decide something. You will have to figure out ways of making them productive (for you).
Can you add to the above list?
You will need to ensure that you and your work (both) are liked by your boss and your colleagues (that’s tough).
You have another challenge: to (mostly) enjoy your work. We shall see that!
I help people and businesses in regenerating themselves through Regenerative Leadership coaching. See Learning Leadership for web based programs. You can undergo self learning program in my book Lead to Regenerate. Stay in touch with me here Google+ , on Twitter, or through my blog Regenerate!
I consult in Branding, Communications, and User Experience Design with Design Directions, a design studio