Welcome to the Real World, Really?
This Keane Komments is coming from a different Keane perspective. I’m Abbey Keane, a twenty something, working girl, and product of Professor Keane. It is only fitting that this feature comes from my perspective because it is about transitioning from college to the real world. And, well, I am on that very adventure myself!
I celebrate my two-year anniversary at my first “real-world” job this June. A few thoughts come to mind while experiencing this milestone: Has it already been two years? I can’t believe how much I have changed/learned/grown. I can’t believe how much more changing/learning/growing I need to accomplish. Should I have been gifted champagne on my two-year anniversary?
Truthfully, I am spoiled. I work for a very hip, fun, “employee - first” organization. Finding the right company to work for can certainly contribute to a smooth transition. However there are multiple tools that we can sharpen ourselves while making this change. Whether you have just graduated from college or you have been in the same role for 15 years, I believe that we can all learn from these tips!
#1 The Golden Rule Still Applies …And it is going to for-EVER. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat your co-workers, management, clients, and staff with respect and kindness. Work gets stressful. Some mornings start with a coffee spill on your keyboard, then you hear from an unhappy client, and THEN your manager asks for a proposal by end of day. And now your cube-mate finds it to be the perfect time to narrate their Pinterest-inspired dinner the night prior.
Keep your patience, keep perspective, and always speak in a polite manner. Remember that creating your brand & reputation is a process that takes time.
#2 Keep a Pulse on The Culture Does everyone eat lunch at his or her desk or do they go out? Are people texting? Are people on Facebook? What’s the dress code like?
These are all tiny things that are really scary when starting at a new company. Be observant. Listen to others and their interactions within the office. This will help you develop a sense of the office norm and learn those unspoken rules that everyone seems to follow in uniform. I think this is also the proper time to mention…be responsible at company parties. Don’t be that new college kid…
#3 Practice...Practice...Practice Whatever your role may be, there will be tasks that challenge your comfort zone. And guess what? You’re going to power through them. My suggestion is to dive right in. Have an experience where you flop. Figure out what doesn’t work and that will help you figure out what will. Be vulnerable to making mistakes and that will ultimately contribute to your success.
I don’t believe that practice makes perfect. I believe that practice gives you the ability to control and beautify your imperfections. We all have imperfections – don’t take it personally.
#4 Don’t Take it Personally The real world can hurt. Physically, mentally, emotionally…. it’s exhausting! This is business – work hard to not let your emotions get the best of you. Yes, I have cried in the office bathroom, I have cried on the train home, and I have cried to my mom. Funny thing is …I’m really not a crier!
Sometimes though, there is that perfect formula of stress in an 8 hour day that can push you to your emotional limit. Lock it up in those 8-10 hours. My grandpa always said that you could do anything for a year, a month, and one day. So, you can do this. Work with conviction and be an advocate for both yourself and your organization. And when in doubt, listen to “Eye of the Tiger".
#5 Be Confident! You Deserve to Be Here! You’re pretty amazing. You have an education and a JOB. What you are doing is making a difference. The company you work for wants you. They want to invest in you and help you grow. How cool is that?
#6 Time Management & Organization This is something that I hope to master myself one day. Like writing, becoming organized is a process. Through time, trial and error, you will discover techniques that work for you or drive you crazy. I am by no means an ultra-organized person. It takes a lot of energy for me to work on that skill. But here are resources that I have found help me launch into organization.
Getting Things Done (GTD): This is a concept & book written by David Allen. And, oops – I haven’t read his book. I plan to read it (procrastination is a hard habit to break). BUT I
have taken a course from my co-worker who has not only read GTD, but also mastered the technique. It is a (mostly digital) time management and organization approach that can be used at many levels. It is a storm that has influenced Fortune 500 companies on a personal and professional basis. I encourage you to at minimum Google “getting things done”. It has absolutely helped me manage stressful moments and I’m certain it can be impactful to everyone in one way or another.
Prioritizing: Set SMART goals:
Follow this pattern for each goal that you set, both personal and professional. A doubly whammy would be to share it with a friend, manager, or parent. When you share your goals out loud with others, both parties will hold you accountable and you will be more likely to accomplish them.
Speaking of your manager… Be clear and honest about where your priorities fall. Revisiting this conversation at least once a month will not only make you look good, but also will be beneficial to the company.
#7 Hustle Be ambitious. Work hard. You have more energy today than you will have tomorrow. Make things happen because you have the power to do so. Just do it.
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