Jumping into the real world right out of college can be an exciting time in a young adults life. It’s a chance for you to put the things you learned in your courses into practical use, make more money and see what you’re really made of.
In high school and even college, you were basically told what to do most of the time and all of the things you needed were provided for you. Working life is different. For students who are more independent this is an enormous relief. For those who are still getting their footing in the real world, this may be a challenge.
Whichever category you fall into, working life is different. Period. Dealing with conflict at work, trying to meet your boss’s expectations and being comfortable in professonial clothing (or like me diverting from the traditional professional duds can be a bit of an adjustment) are all things that may take some getting use to.
On the flip side, you’ll have more independence, more money and a whole new world to explore. If you’re entering the job market for the first time after school, here are some challenges you may face:
1. Changes in your social environment
In college, you have a ready-made social life of peers who have similar interests as you. It was easy to find time to hang out and socialize, even with a heavy academic schedule. You lived in a community dorm, shared meals during the designated meal times, walked together to and from classes and had daily practices if you participated in athletics.
When you’re in the working world, you’ll find that your social life will look a little different. You’ll meet people with different backgrounds and ages. Which is an opportunity for you to expand your interests and continue learning after school! You’ll also find that the friends you accrued in college may now be non-existent or you have to strategically plan when you will hang out with the friends you still keep in touch with.
In college, if you drank too much the night before and had a hangover, or stayed up late and were too tired to make your morning class, you could skip it and get the notes later from a friend. As you can probably guess, this same attitude won’t go over well at work. Although you may be able to get away with it if you have Personal/Paid time off (PTO) in your time bank; making a habit of not showing up to work can create some long-term consequences.With companies attempting to seem more appealing, you do have the option of Working from home (WFH), however, it is not an excuse to not showing up. If you make this a habit of working from home that could also raise some red flags. Showing up on time, paying attention to instructions and being accountable are all important aspects of job responsibility.
3. Continued Education
Though you’ll ugain new skills and learn new things at your job, many students find that they miss the constant mental stimulation of college where each semester presented new objectives. The end of college doesn’t mean you have to end your education. I am a perfect example of this; I have made it a point to learn about the other departments I work with such as, digital marketing and creative by accessing Google Academy, HubSpot Academy and Lynda. The best part? They’re all FREE and you can receive certifications which will look great on your growing resume! Though some may feel it essential to go back to school to receive their masters or doctorate, which in many instances are industry specific (i.e. social work). There are a lot of ways to continue learning after school. Use your workplace to leverage those learning opportunities!
For many, their first job out of college will be the first time they make a real salary, not just minimum wage from flipping burgers or babysitting. Maybe you’ll have the luck or the determination to land a great job out of college (like me!). Maybe you’ll start out as an intern and work your way up. Whatever your salary, this may be the first time you have to learn to budget your money. Rent, bills, student loans, meals, entertainment, etc. Or you’ve made the decision to move back in with your parents so that you can SAVE that money you’re earning. Essentially, all of these things require you to analyze your resources and plan accordingly. It can be exhilarating to be making money for the first time (and you’ll want to spend it on unnecessary things). Finding balance between what you want and what you can afford is another part of the post-college learning curve. Consider meeting with a financial advisor or if you have a close friend or family member that can educate you, by all means, budget away!
5. Work-life balance is a priority
In most recent years, employers are competing for talent who can meet the demands of the many things professionals are tasked with completing. The workplace’s newer employees want time to develop their personal lives and interests outside of work. They also want work to be fulfilling, not just a paycheck. Unlike the working world, college professor’s don’t seem to care about activities outside of the classroom. Because stringent deadlines, having fun does not seem allow for a balance.
It may not seem like it’s worth it while you’re in college, but once you get into the working world, you’ll be much more appreciative of being in the working world! Read more professional advice from Fasst and Fabulouss here.