Making The Transition From College To A Career (Part 1)
The jump from college to a career may seem easy at first, just like swimming, but once you are in it, it is stressful, chaotic, and like a new swimmer--you are going to struggle. Job hunting, interviewing, and your first real job is a culture shock that few people are equipped to handle successfully.
Below are five of the most common issues that arise time and time again, and each plays a role in your successful transition from life as a student to life under the yolk of an employer. Understanding these issues before they arise may help you smooth your transition, but make no mistake, if you want a real career, you are going to have to adapt quickly.
1. Time-Related Factors
Planning your college work is very different from planning the work on your career. Firstly, you have to work under an enforced structure where much of the planning is out of your hands. Deadlines are no longer defined in simple terms, things have to get done, and you have to get it done as soon as possible with the least amount of fuss, expense or waste.
Secondly, if you like having a routine, then prepare to become unsettled. Your schedule, your routine, and your process may need to change on a daily basis. The business world requires a high degree of flexibility of you are working on your career rather than simply having a job.
Thirdly, a job is something you can forget about when your work day is over. Your career on the other hand extends deep into your personal time and personal life. For example, people with a career have Facebook profiles that represent them as model employees, whereas people with jobs have Facebook profiles that are all about them. Your career will affect everything you do, from dressing well when you are out and about incase clients (or your bosses) see you, to keeping you up at night as you puzzle over a work problem.
Fourthly, if you want a "career," you need to improve yourself inside and outside of work. People that want a career will read self-help books, take elocution lessons, will attend seminars and take up extra learning outside of work. All of this eats into time that people with jobs take for granted.
2. Professionalism in the Workplace
Ever heard the term, "Office Politics"? Not only does it exist, it is a massive part of having a career. The reason is because if you have a career, you are taking a position that other people want, and the promotion you want is also highly desirable by other people. Others are going to work ceaselessly to unseat you and make you look bad. They will do all sorts of things from gossiping to the boss about things you (didn't) say about him/her and the secretary having an affair, and others are going to encourage you to take courses of action that he or she knows will make you look bad.
People with charm and charisma will often do better when it comes to getting a promotion because bosses prefer to be around people they like. Good managers will choose the best person for the job in most cases, but not at the expense of working with people they do not like unless it is unavoidable.
Not only do you have to deal with all of this to avoid negative consequences, you also have to do it with a high degree of professionalism. Your work will not speak for itself, you have to be your strongest ambassador for your output, and you must do it in a professional way. Intimidation, blackmail, and trickery will only get you so far before you find yourself demoted.
Above all, if you forget everything else, at least remember this, professional people "Do not complain!" Professional people find solutions, they do not complain.
3. A Job or True Calling?
When you work a job, it is your life. You are not working your way through college, or working on another project, you are simply earning money to live. When you have a career, it is more like a true calling. You devote a lot of your time to it, and most of what you do is unpaid. You spend much of your time laying the groundwork and foundation for what is to come in the future. You are often in your late thirties by the time your career is paying off and either you are doing what you want to do and/or you are earning the money you want to earn. A career is about sacrifice, a job is about getting paid.