Tue 24 May 2011
Posted by Alicia under Career, Career Advice, College Grads, First Job, Interviewing, Job Interviewing Tips, Job Search, Job Search for College Grads, Starting a new job, Tips for Job Interviews
As I’ve mentioned in many of my recent posts, this past year I had the pleasure of interviewing young professionals who had been working from 1 to 5 years out of college. Over 80% of them had been unhappy in their first job and had either left it or were looking to leave. But all 100% of them agreed on one thing: they were not prepared for what to expect once they had the job.
This is not unusual but it’s a fact that doesn’t get talked about much. The reality is that college doesn’t prepare you for the world of work. Going from college to corporate is one of the hardest transitions we all make. Don’t think it’s a new reality either. When I graduated from college many, many, many years ago, I almost quit after my first two weeks. Actually, I wanted to quit after the first week but decided to wait until a got my first paycheck. I figured it was the least the company could do for having me go through the shock of working in a corporate environment.
As it turns out, I never quit. The economic situation at the time very much resembled the one today’s college grads are facing. I had many friends who had not found work and when I told them I was quitting, they told me I was crazy & that I needed to stick it out even if I was miserable. I listened and I did stick it out. Of course back then, the career or job options available to a 20-something were much more limited than they are today. There weren’t any internships or contracting work that a young person could take to make a living. But the truth is it took me a LONG time to get used to the work environment because it wasn’t easy to figure out.
Today’s newest and youngest entrants to the workplace told me the same thing. In fact, they told me the 5 key areas that shocked them the most about working. So I made a decision. I decided to write a series of ebooks to give college grads the upper hand in transitioning from college to corporate. The first ebook which comes out this month is called New @ Work: An Insider’s Survival Guide to the Crazy Workplace. It gives college grads 5 insider secrets about the world of work. It busts the myths many of us had about the workplace before we worked there. It’s the 5 that were highlighted by the young people I interviewed this past year.
Let me give you 2 examples of what I mean.
1. As a college grad, you probably expect that your boss will not only be a good boss to you but that he will be a good leader for the team you work for. Maybe. Maybe not. The likelihood is that he or she won’t be. The inside scoop that seasoned workers learned the hard way is that there is an overwhelmingly large number of bad bosses in the workplace. I call them batty bosses and I’ve described some of their characteristics in some of my previous blogs. In the ebook, I go into each of them and explain why they exist. I also provide some probing questions you can ask during your job interviews to uncover if you will be working for one. If you get lucky enough to land a good boss, count your blessings and don’t do anything to jeopardize that relationship.
2. As a college grad, you probably expect that your workplace will encourage and foster collaboration among employees both in and outside your team. Maybe. Maybe not. The insider truth is that collaboration doesn’t always flourish in many of the more established companies and it certainly doesn’t do so at the level that young people today are used to collaborating. There are a lot of reasons for that which I explain in the book and I give some pointed questions you can ask during your job interview to get a glimpse of how collaborative or not your future employer is.
The point is that as a college grad you should not go blindly into your first job. The hundreds of thousands of us that have done so either quit our jobs or took a long time to figure it out. You don’t need to do that. It’s important that you know exactly what to expect. Instead of being miserable or wasting time trying to make sense of it all, you can be ready for it and concentrate on making a great impression and showcasing your talents and desire to make a difference.
One thing you can do now to get ready: talk to your friends who have been working for a year or more. Ask them what surprised them most about work. Ask them for 1 to 3 tips to prepare you so you can know what to expect.
In the meantime, look out for my ebook announcement and the special offer for the class of 2011.