5 Things They Don’t Teach You About Work in College

23 05 2014

happy-at-work

Getting a first job is something that’s a milestone for every person. Whether you’re a college graduate or started working after high school, a first job is something that is nerve-wracking and unforgettable at the same time. Not only that, this is your first experience into a world that’s totally different from school. Your assignments and exams will be replaced with tasks and deadlines, bosses are the counterparts of your school teachers, and your peers will be equivalent to people of different ages and work status. It’s a change of scenery from the campus scene that you’ve gotten used to over the past years.

High grades and great student performance are equally important. But then, school doesn’t teach you everything you need to know about life after graduation. Here are 5 examples of things they didn’t teach you in college about “the real world”.

1. How to handle your salary

That feeling when you get your first paycheck can surely give you an adrenaline rush. It’ll make you want to buy all the things you can get. But before you go haywire on buying a new pair of heels or that snazzy gadget, think twice. Your salary is only enough to keep you covered for your basic living expenses, like food, rent, and transportation allowance. In short, you have to stretch your budget to make it last until the next payday.

It’s not like you can call up mom or dad anytime and ask for an allowance. The key here is not to go broke. Responsibility in learning to handle your money can help you. Save up, take another job if you can, and be creative with your budgeting skills. Experience in handling your own money can teach you just that.

2. Dealing with people and office politics

In school, you might have encountered these groups of people, like jocks, popular girls, and the strange kids. But in the office setting, these people will be replaced with the following: bosses, supervisors, and subordinates who have more work experience than you do. Years of working in a company can surely give other co-workers that air of superiority that can either be arrogant or inspiring.

In the office setting, you deal with people who may be younger or older than you. This kind of set up can pave way for office politics. Here’s some advice for you, fresh graduate: work wisely and don’t play dirty. Don’t do things that you know isn’t right just because you want to fit in with the office culture.

And if you’re worried about friends, accept the fact that not all of your office mates will be your friends. It’s a valuable lesson in learning to adapt without compromising your values.

3. Learning how to listen intently

If your student habit was pretending to listen to the teacher’s discussion, this won’t work anymore in a company setting. As an employee, you have to listen intently on what you’re being told to do. Nothing’s worse than working with an employee who doesn’t know how to listen and obey. You’ll have to do a lot of listening, from meetings to your boss’ task for you. Listen with your mind, and don’t just hear it.

4. Gaining new skills at work

Not everything will be taught to you by the book. You’ll pick up a few soft skills along the way without knowing it. Be aware of your weaknesses, and turn these into your strengths and skills.

5. Juggling work-life balance

It’s hard to balance work with your life outside of it. Don’t be a workaholic, but don’t slack off either. Have time to work hard and still enjoy life.

These five things are something to expect once you start working. Enjoy working, learn from it, and live well.

****For this great guest post, Campus to Career thanks Eliza Sullin!****

Author bio: Eliza Sullin is a college student and freelance writer for best essay au service. Working as a student taught her how to be responsible for her life and work.

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4 responses

15 07 2014
sarahspath

I would suggest that a good college learning center teaches you #3-5, and that the career center teaches #1-2. Learning good academic skills like working well in groups, listening to a lecture, learning “how-to-learn” in different classes, and the time management skills that come from juggling school, work, and life–all of these can be taught and learned while in school. Though there is definitely the challenge of translating those skills into a new workplace context…

15 07 2014
sarahspath

It definitely depends on the college. A good career center teaches #1-2, while a good learning center teaches #3-5. And in the classroom, projects that require teamwork build the skills for office politics, taking notes in lectures builds listening skills, learning good academic skills like how to change study habits to fit a new project builds learning skills, and balancing the demands of school, work, and life builds time management skills. This is not to understate the challenges of transitioning out of an academic environment into a work environment–but the basics for navigating that change are definitely there…

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