Life after college can be an uncertain time. There is a reason that the transition from college to the workforce is considered to be one of the most difficult. So many things change. Many people get their first jobs and in the midst of learning a new position, they are also trying to find their place in the adult world. A new career brings with it new responsibilities, new friends, and a new lifestyle. Your first job after college especially can be a time to sink or swim, but there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself afloat.
1. Take advantage of your new schedule
No matter your profession, your first post-graduation job will bring some sort of schedule change along with it. At first glance, this change may seem less than advantageous. Non-morning people are thrust towards the coffee machine and Tuesday afternoon plans are a thing of the past. People tend to miss the spontaneity, but don’t underestimate how nice a little consistency can be.
In college, your schedule may be more sporadic, but it also feels like the work is never really done. Even if you had no classes on a given day, odds are you had some work or studying that still needed attention. Once you enter the working world you can really embrace your free-time. Sure, working overtime happens, but you don’t constantly have exams hanging over your head that you should be preparing for in your spare time. Combining this little bit of extra free-time with a more predictable schedule leaves the door open to pick up the new hobbies you have been meaning to get into.
2. Learn as much as you can
When you enter the workforce after college the one thing you should anticipate is that not much will be as you expected. Every industry/company/office/co-worker is different so the first thing you should be doing is just taking it all in. Learn as much as you can about everything in your new environment. You will probably be going through a training period that was designed specifically for this purpose. Your goal during this time should not be to learn what you need to know, but rather to learn everything there is to know.
Knowledge is power, especially when it is in your field of expertise. This is the time to ask questions, get opinions from coworkers, and seek out cross training possibilities. Don’t be afraid to take responsible chances. Experimentation is one of the best ways to learn, so try new things as a part of your process. This is an easy habit to form early on, before you get set in your ways.
3. Get to know your team
Every time you get a new job you also get a new set of co-workers to try to figure out. Is it really worth it? You could just interact with them when deemed necessary and keep to yourself whenever possible, but I don’t suggest that you take this route. Some people are uncomfortable with mixing their personal lives with their professional lives. I personally believe that workplace friendships are beneficial, but even if you don’t want to hang out with your co-workers outside of the office, your team will still benefit from you understanding one another better. Go to team building events when possible, or go to a team happy hour after work one day. Creating bonds with coworkers not only allows you collaborate more effectively, it also leads to a friendlier work environment which affects your daily mood.
4. Get involved in your community
New jobs often mean new cities, especially post-graduation. If your job leads you to somewhere new, get involved in the community in a way that brings you joy. What can you do in your new city that you could not have done where you moved from? Go check it out! Local events tend to embody the spirit of the community. Go see a local band perform, grab a beer from a local brewery, or volunteer for a local organization. Getting involved is a great way to start to feeling connected to your community. While you are putting yourself out there, be open to meeting new people and making new friends. Remember, you’re building a life, not just a career.
5. Learn to love alone time
In many ways, your post-graduation social calendar is probably much more diverse than in college. With new weekend hobbies to pick up and new friends to drag you to new things, life after college can be a time of many firsts. One of those firsts will most likely be that you have more alone time.
Many people choose to live alone for the first time after college, or at least with less roommates. Learn to love the peace you find in your solo moments. Find things that you enjoy to do alone and look for comfort in your own company. The more comfortable you are alone, the more certain you become of who you are. The ability to be alone and also content takes practice but it is essential for personal growth.
6. Work somewhere awesome to do awesome work
If you want to love your job, you have to work for the right company. There is no amount of positive thinking or lifestyle changes that could compensate for a bad employment fit. Think long and hard before accepting that offer because you should really be able to enjoy the place that you will be spending nearly 36% of your time awake.
Your personality should naturally fit into your company’s culture, and your values should at least somewhat align. If you are in the right environment, you will be able to thrive. If the company isn’t right for you, you will feel it. Good companies value and empower their employees. When searching for your first post-graduation job, if you find a supportive environment that is a good culture match, consider yourself lucky and apply!
As a recent college graduate, following these tips have certainly helped me learn to love my first job here at Workshop Digital. If you are a soon-to-be or recent college graduate looking for new careers, take a look at our job postings page for new opportunities.