When I completed my bachelor’s degree in fashion designing, i was looking forward to join a big design firm, a reputed clothing brand, an export house or a manufacturing industry to start my career. I applied to as many jobs i saw on job portals like indeed, LinkedIn etc. I got few phone calls and attended the interviews (dint hear back from most of them). After three months of searching, I finally landed my first job at an e-commerce retail store. Phew!!! Now I can finally answer everyone about what am doing.
But right after I started working, I realized, it was not exactly what I imagined it would be. Definitely I learned a lot that I dint know when I was in college.But, the learning process was hard as it was a trial and error strategy. So it took me a while to figure out things.
This post is to prep you on what to expect when you start working right after college.
- There would be no Teacher.
As a student, we rely a lot on teachers. We wait for our teachers to teach us, When we do an assignment, we do it as per our knowledge and be at ease, expecting that, teacher would correct it and help us take it forward. But in your work place, you cannot always expect someone to teach you everything or rely on someone to correct your drafts or paper works. It would be your task and you need to complete it. Am not telling- there would be no one to help at all, but you cannot always look for one to teach or access you.
- You will be paid peanuts.
As a fresher, you may not get a huge salary. You will only get paid enough for your food, stay and travel. When you starting out first, don’t work for pay check. Work to gain knowledge and skills. Also the world wants people with years of experience.
- Fake it till you make it.
Be confident, no matter where and how you work. Don’t feel insecure or meek if you feel you don’t know something or you did something wrong. Always remember you are just starting out and not everyone will know everything. As you go on, you will get the hang of it.
- You will do mistakes. Lots of them.
During my first job, I made tons of mistakes that I just wanted to bury my head somewhere and never come out. Only later I realized, it was not just me and it’s okay to make mistakes. You will learn only through your mistakes. Just remember your mistakes and be careful next time.
Also because you made a mistake, don’t feel insecure. As a beginner, everyone would make mistakes.
- Tight Schedule.
Working life is not as same as college. There would not be much free time. The working hours defers based on where and what kind of work you do. In general, you may not have much time for yourselves. Start learning to balance your time for your work and personal life. No matter how busy you get, always make some ‘me time’.
- Entry level jobs.
As a fresher, you cannot expect bigger responsibilities. You will be assigned with minor tasks and that’s all you may need to do for a while. But be smart to know, if it’s worth doing it for a period of time. If there’s a growth rate in the workplace and promotions that you can get based on how you perform, then it’s worth sticking for a while.
- You may need some therapy.
Not literally, but it would be great to get some if you can. In the beginning of work life, everyone will go through mental and emotional stress. The transitional period takes everyone on a ride. The stress may be due to work pressure, new environment, people and culture, lack of time with oneself, self doubts, criticism and various other pressures put on by one. Be strong and know that this will pass. I consciously made efforts to make peace with the fact that, I started working and life is different now and only then i felt relaxed.
- Build friendships and networks.
Getting to know people and making friends is very important to survive your initial days and the days to come. Having friends at work will make everything bearable! The people you meet now will be helpful for your career in later years. Learn to make efforts to be friends with people irrespective of your differences (not that, you need to please everyone). Always remember, being nice to people takes you places as no one wishes to help an arrogant or ignorant person.
- Office Politics.
Yes, it’s there everywhere. You will find people being two faced, undeserving people going higher, non professional attitudes and behaviors etc etc… Always stand up for yourself and stand true to yourself. Don’t let the world change you. It would be hard initially to stand out from the crowd, but that’s what will make you stand longer. Always speak up for yourself, don’t wait until you feel you are good enough. If you want something, ask for it. If you believe something defend it.
10. Do not stop Learning.
Once you got a job, that’s not an end to education. You need to make efforts to keep learning and stay up to date with your industry trends. Continue to do self study, observe your colleagues and bosses to know, what and how they do things. You need to be able to adapt yourself as per the emerging trends. However, Learning should be lifelong habit.
Enough said! Remember that this post is not intended to freak you out, but rather make you aware of the initial stages of work life, so you can prepare yourself to face the challenges and keep moving forward. Also you are not alone in this, as everyone goes through this phase.
You wont be stuck here for long. The fact that you have read till now, shows that you trying hard and hard work always pays off. So don’t let anyone tame you!
Feel free to leave comments to add on to this.