A huge change arrives the moment a student leaves college, and joins an organisation. The comfort zone evaporates. Routines change.
To land yourself correctly in your first few weeks, months and years, here are my POWER TIPS.
1. GET MENTALLY PREPARED – We all tend to remember, recall and fondly share moments spent together at our college, all through our lives. As we move from college into the corporate world, it’s like taking birth all over again. Safely ensconced in our mother’s womb, we could play brave, knowing well someone is there to protect us always. But once we are born, and the warmth of the cocoon no longer exists, we must first learn to cry. A similar experience awaits all who graduate from an institution/college and move into the corporate world. Surprisingly, a large percentage of graduating students do not at all think about the life that’s coming up. They assume it will be a linear extension of their present condition. It will not. It will be a step change. So, start thinking about it. Prepare your mind to accept the new reality. Start imagining victories in the new life. Think of the happiness that will come to you as you move from “being a student” to “being a professional”.
2. FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR BOSSES – The one person who will largely define your entire existence in your first job (and many jobs later as well) is your immediate Boss. He/she will control almost everything you do, the work quality, and your immediate happiness. So, start finding out who that person is. What does he/she like and dislike. And start moulding yourself according to those values. It will make your journey very pleasant, and comparatively easier. So, if your boss smokes a lot, you need not start smoking yourself, but avoid making faces when the smell hits your nose. If your boss is a cleanliness freak, keep yourself clean (nails, hair, appearance, clothing, shoes etc.) If your boss works late hours, develop your stamina to match his. There is nothing unethical or manipulative about this approach. Human beings work in teams, and the novices have to adjust to the veterans’ style of work. Your suggestions will be considered, but first spend some time at least! If your boss finds working with you congenial, he/she is likely to want more of it. And you have a winning formula. A caveat – quality of work has no alternative.
3. LEAVE ADOLESCENCE BEHIND – Make a conscious effort to wean yourself away from the childish enthusiasm of your adolescence. That life is OVER. Your parents were funding you till now. You did not have to worry about the price of the next meal. You could show off in front of all your friends – treat them at a Barista or a CCD, all at your parents’ expense. Your parents may still continue to fund you, but that’s fairly stupid as a professional. You will not grow from within unless you feel the pressure of earning money for your lifestyle. It is only when we start realising this, that true efforts begin. So consciously drop the earlier skin off, and grow the new one. It will not be easy. But start soon.
4. GRADUATE TO THE NEXT LEVEL ON SOCIAL MEDIA – The simple rule is – once you join an organisation, STOP BLABBERING LIKE IDIOTS on social media. Stop posting stuff that’s childish, stupid, inane, vacuous, unprofessional or blasphemous. Your employer is watching you. It is not like your college – the Professor had no choice. He could not pull you up, as you could cry and make faces. Here, as a professional in a company, you will get the boot. There is no way you can justify stupid postings on your Facebook walls that can create headaches for your company. So start writing clean English. Your social media presence is your readily – checkable and readable proof of character.
5. STAY BACK MORE THAN OTHERS, VOLUNTEER MORE THAN OTHERS – How do you get noticed by your Boss? How do you ensure your presence is felt? Well, by doing so. Report early in the morning. If the official time is 9 am, be at your desk (if you are allotted one) by 8:50 am. Don’t just sit there – do something. Anything. Look busy. Get yourself some work. Ask for work. If you are free, and are unable to find any work, chances are your performance has not been liked by many. So ask for work. Volunteer for assignments, howsoever unpleasant. At the start of your career, an assignment that helps you learn is a favour that your boss does. So ask for more favours!
6. ORIENT YOUR FAMILY, GET READY FOR NEW FRIENDS – For your parents, you will always be a child. They will alway see their chunnu, bebo or pintoo in you, even when you are 40 years of age. But you need to tell them that you are growing up and a lot of things they expected from you may not remain so, any more. You have to tell them to stop worrying if you took your lunch in time or not. They have to stop worrying when you reached home last night. They have to let you run your life now. It’s very important. If your company is posting you to a different city, it’s you who has to decide, and not your parents. Decisions must be made with a certain professional detachment. It’s important, else you will miss out on opportunities! My appeal to parents will also be the same – let the kids grow as much as they can, on their own. Also, you will meet new people on the workplace, and must develop new relationships of trust and companionship. Who knows, something much better may be in store. So it’s not necessary to hand on to all the old friends.
I hope your first job lasts really long, and you contribute meaningfully to everyone around. Best wishes!