I’m not sure why, but when I was in school I kept thinking that when I finally graduated and got a job, things would be easier. I would have more time, I would climb the corporate ladder at record speed, I could do whatever I wanted. Well, it hasn’t happened.
Here are a few job truths you should understand when entering the job force:
- Time off is limited and may need to be approved. You will probably not have unlimited time off. If you do, treasure it, you are lucky! Honestly, you may not even have any paid time off depending on the career you choose. A lot of paid vacation time is not something you should expect or take for granted. The specific days you take off may also be up to your boss’s discretion. If you are an accountant, good luck taking a vacation during the busy season. Before you buy your tickets, discuss vacation with your boss.
- You will not like everyone, and not everyone will like you. But you need to deal with it. This one was very hard for me. I could not understand why work disagreements arose! You need to handle conflict and hard-to-work-with people respectfully and in a professional manner. If you react and get upset, most likely your reaction will be noted. However, what made you react may be overlooked, and it could hurt you.
- Sometimes you will need to work extra hours or on the weekend (and probably not get paid). If you want to succeed, sometimes you need to put in extra effort. Everyone I know has had several late nights and weekend projects. This will help you get ahead and is sometimes just part of working.
- This is a learning experience. You may hate your boss, your hours may be insane, or you may have a dress code you think is ridiculous. Take this job experience and learn what you can about the industry, and about yourself. This job is a stepping stone in your career.
- You need to prove yourself. You may think you are the most hardworking person in your company and that you have the best ideas in the room, but you still need to work hard and do your job. Your hard work will be (or at least should be) recognized. You need to put in the time.
I’m not suggesting that a job is an awful thing or that you will never get any perks. Your job can be a satisfying and fulfilling experience. Just be sure you have a good perspective and realistic expectations when you enter the workforce. A good attitude will help you maximize this part of your journey.