Today’s job market is very different from that of the booming economy most of us remember. Today college graduates are coming out of school and struggling to find work. They spend years continuing their pursuit of work in their desired fields while trying to make ends meet with odd jobs and part time employment.
This has created a very competitive market. Graduating youth have no experience in the real work force and limited understanding of real life expectations. Employers don’t want to deal with an unprepared employee when there is a market full of hungry replacements. So what is a new graduate to do?
I have complied some tips for those new to the work force who are unsure, or more specifically those who are so sure they know everything that they are the ones who need advice the most. Success in the work force is a vital part of life and overcoming some negative behaviors or developing more positive ones may be the key for personal success. Below are some general rules of thumb to follow. I am not encouraging people to forgo their own uniqueness in lieu of conformity, I am suggesting some behavior modifications which might help an individual succeed.
1. Sleep – The days in college where you are used to staying up all night studying or partying are officially over Monday to Friday. One of the most important things you can do to be well prepared for work is to be well rested. It is no longer about being fine to function, it’s about being at your best and sharp mentally. Getting enough sleep to manage the day is fine when all you have is a silly job. But if you are trying to make a career and want to get ahead, you need to be at your best.
2. Bite your tongue – Perhaps it’s just those I’ve encountered, or perhaps there has been a shift in culture, but young adults today consistently feel the need to be heard and need to explain themselves. I think it’s rooted in the modernization of our culture where we always expect to have a voice or opinion on something. Chances are though, working in the corporate world your boss will not be from this generation and will expect you to just do what he has asked you to do. Keeping quiet is also a great way to listen to what’s being said around you and the perfect learning opportunity! Once you have proven yourself and shown that you are seasoned enough to have the respect of others, then your opinion will hold more merit and be solicited.
3. Organization – BE ORGANIZED! This is no longer high school or college where “opps I forgot” is an acceptable excuse. Your boss does not want to hear that. Remember when you look bad, it reflects on those around you. How do you get organized? Google has lots of great articles but here are some ideas:
- get a notebook and carry it around with you writing down everything. When you have time go back and reorganize your information, assess what parts you don’t understand or missed and find the information you need.
- create a work flow, have folders for what needs to be tackled, a folder for what I call ‘working material’ (this is something you started but for what ever reason its not yet completed, and a folder for outgoing/to be submitted work that you have completed.
- hole punch and file/tab as much as you can. Loose papers are messy and waste your time as you hunt for something you might need. This also prevents things from getting lost.
4. Learn how you learn – this is very important. Some people are visual, some people need to hear instructions, some people need both to be successful. Figure out what you work best with. If is verbal instructions you might want to use a tape recorder during meetings (if permitted) or read emails to yourself out loud. If you are visual, write things down in an organized fashion. If you learn best through both, try all types of combinations until you find one that fits your style.
5. Keep work and social lives separate – no seriously, work is not a place to find a new girlfriend and you don’t need to add everyone to your facebook account. Your boss doesn’t want to know that your weekend bender is why you were so tired on Monday. There are boundaries that need to be established and maintained. These days boundaries have become very weak and this often leads to unnecessary problems and drama. Work is a place for you to display your maturity, intelligence, and commitment to the company.
Of course these are not the end all of guidelines for young adults starting out in the work place. However, they are a few of the tips that I have passed along to clients in hopes that they will be successful.
Till then, continue “Discovering Your Own Way”…
- Dr. Brennan
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Last reviewed: 25 Aug 2014