If you have graduated from college in the past few years, you know that there is a BIG difference between a “college” mindset and a “professional” mindset. In college, it’s easy to get consumed by exams, late nights, Greek life, and the most recent dorm drama. Once you enter into the workforce, you may still have a few of the same issues, but you will have a completely different mindset. If you are about to graduate this spring, check out these tips that will help you adjust to the workforce successfully.
Broaden your group of friends. It can be really easy getting comfortable with the same friends. Heck, that’s why they are YOUR friends – you like to be around them. However, if you find yourself going to the same karaoke bar every Wednesday with the same people, staying up late, and rolling out of bed 30 minutes late the next morning – try to broaden your horizons. Meet with new people, try new activities, and break up the routine. This will give you a chance to make new friends, get out of that late night college routine, and maybe learn a little about yourself. Putting yourself in different situations will also help your communication skills when you land that new job. A great way to do this is to join a Meetup group.
Move to a different city. Sometimes, old habits simply die hard. It may take moving to a new city to help you get ready for your adult work life. Let’s face it, going to class hungover is not a big deal, but going to work hungover could get you fired. Try out a new city. This will give you new perspective, get you to try things out of your comfort zone, and get you to start actively thinking about the future.
Take on more responsibility. We aren’t saying go out and buy a house . . . but maybe it’s time for you to get your first apartment. It was great living the dorm life in college, really great . . . but having your own place will be even better. Carve out a space in this world that is just for you. Having the responsibility to create a home (and pay for it yourself) is a huge accomplishment.
Get ready for competition. It can be easy to get use to the classroom lifestyle. You work in groups, individually, or sometimes, just don’t show up to class if you aren’t really feeling it. Very few college professors care if you got an A, C, or fail the exam or class. Their job is to present you with information and you do what you will with it. There was never any real competition. In the workforce, there is. Get ready to work as part of a team, bounce ideas off each other, answer to a boss, and work towards something that is much bigger than a letter grade. If you have a report due 12:00 p.m. on Friday, there will be no extension, there will be no excuses – it’s simple due.
Lastly, use your peers, family, and professors for support. Start talking with people about what to expect. Find professionals you feel comfortable with and simply ask about the future. They can tell you funny stories, horror stories, and what NOT to do when you enter the workforce. What better way to learn than to ask someone who has done it?
Do you have any funny “first job” type of stories? Comment below and tell us about them!