In my eyes, there are two types of recent college graduates. In one corner of the classroom, you have the “give me my diploma already” crowd. In the other corner, perhaps in a bar, lies the “I should have taken a victory lap” group, reluctant to shed their student status.
But whether you dread or welcome it, graduation day arrives and you can’t help but feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. However, there’s still a big shift to come: Starting a full-time job.
That transition can cause panic for even the most-prepared students. I’m completely guilty. Senior year of college was good to me, and I was nervous about leaving my little pond to become, once again, a small fish.
I’ve worked at Martin Waymire for almost two months now, and learned a few things in a surprisingly short amount of time. So here’s a list of myths I’ve heard – and myths I believed – about working in the “real world,” and why they are all completely wrong.
- THEY EXPECT ME TO KNOW EVERYTHING
When you’re new to a job, it is OK to say “I don’t know,” but you better do your best to find out before you fall back on that. You might be out of college, but the learning never stops, especially if, like me, you work in the digital world where social platforms change faster than the top story on Gawker.
The keyword here is “ask.” Ask for more training. Ask to attend a conference. Ask what that random acronym means! Be proactive in expanding your bandwidth, but know that your coworkers will not expect you to know everything starting out, especially simple little office nuances.
- I’M YOUNG, SO THEY WON’T TAKE ME SERIOUSLY
When you’re the youngest in the room, it is easy to think you need to stay in the background and not say what you think. That’s not what your employer wants. They hired you for a reason, and though you are new, that is probably why they value you. Don’t be afraid to take initiative, but don’t let your ego get bruised if your “all-star” ideas don’t take off every time.
During my first week, I pitched a blog post concept for a client that I thought was oh-so-perfect. Turns out my idea missed the boat, but my supervisor didn’t laugh it off. She was impressed that I pitched it, and the conversation that followed helped me understand what content the page typically shares and what is best for our audience.
Take your ideas seriously, present them professionally and they will be received in the same manner. There’s a difference between knowing your place in an office hierarchy and settling in at the bottom thinking you have no influence.
- MY OFFICE WILL BE BORING
If you hear “Ummm yeah, how’s that TPS report coming along?” maybe that’s a sign to flee. But don’t let Office Space or other silly pop culture assumptions dictate your perception of full-time jobs.
I can’t speak for every workplace, but many companies recognize that millennials are a growing segment of the modern workforce. As of 2015, one in three American workers is a millennial, classified as an adult aged 18-35. Consequently, we’re seeing more and more companies ditch the old 9-to-5 regimen and adjust company culture to attract young talent.
Sometimes it’s the little things that can go a long way in spicing up your work day. For instance, at Martin Waymire we have a company philosophy to “win with balance.” Put simply, if you finish your work, you can go play. Whether that’s taking time to exercise, get a drink or coffee with a client or go for a walk, it’s a flexible approach that encourages better time management. We’re also a dog-friendly office, which Forbes reports is a huge work perk for millennials.
- I’LL BE TOO BUSY FOR FUN
“Adulting” can be hard.
Workloads are bound to fluctuate day to day, industry to industry. Your first day might go slow, or they’ll have you dive right into the madness. Bottom line, this isn’t college anymore and you need to create some new routines. That might mean abandoning the old one that allowed you to sleep until noon, exploit Tuesday drink specials or skip class when the mood struck.
But if you think all the fun is over – you’re wrong. A consistent paycheck and no exams to study for make for a brilliant combination. For some that means shopping sprees, traveling or ending that ramen noodle diet to try your hand at real cooking.
I’ve found that work typically stays at work, and fun sneaks its way in during the day, too. At Martin Waymire, that means Tuesday office runs on the Lansing River Trail at 4 p.m. and Friday happy hours! Working full-time is a different brand of freedom, where weekends and evenings are work-free and study-free zones.