I graduated from college in a vastly different world. We did not have the technology that exists today, which makes the professional world easier. However, despite modern conveniences, there is some advice that stands the test of time.
Here’s what I wish I knew when I was beginning my professional life, fresh out of university.
Be on time:
While this sounds like common sense, with the proliferation of remote and hybrid work, there’s a feeling one can work at any time. While in some cases this is true, most work happens between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Being on time means logging in, being early for meetings, and the first in last out. Even in the virtual world.
Your behavior tells everyone around you how serious you are about your job. Impressions matter!
If there is one thing I wish I had a better grasp on before I left college, it would have been networking. Now that I am in a career where this is critical, I understand the importance even more.
If I had started building my network at a younger age, it would be twice as strong and supportive. Learn from my mistake and start networking early!
And remember, it’s not just for career development, but also support. Friends can make all the difference and those relationships can outlast any job.
Money is not everything:
While we want to make enough money to live comfortably and enjoy life, simply chasing a paycheck can lead to unhappiness.
At the start of your professional life, you’re exploring. That’s the time to take a risk on a job or career you may enjoy over making a choice based on a paycheck. This could lead to more happiness and adventure.
It can also lead to invaluable experience. Early in my career, I didn’t make much money, but I would not trade some of the experiences I had or the people I met. Those lessons, and people, have helped me move further in my professional development.
Use this time to discover what you enjoy!
Travel and Explore:
While this last tip isn’t necessarily work-related, use this time to travel. While you are young, traveling is easier to do before you have more responsibility at work and perhaps a family to take care of.