Written by Alex Myers
If you’re about to graduate from college or you’re a recent millennial graduate in your first “real job” this post is for you.
Always be networking.
Be professional, but be personable.
Take leadership opportunities.
The world is your oyster.
Find what you’re passionate about.
Your career is what you make it.
These are all things that Millennials (especially) hear at some point in their collegiate journey. As a Millennial Graduate, you feel the pressure to stand out now more than ever. With icons like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and teenage masterminds, the bar for exceptionalism has never been higher.
Professors, peers, parents, and employers from all around are urging how important your college career is in order to secure a job. From expectations of sky-high GPAs to a laundry list of internships, extracurricular activities, and leadership opportunities, the Millennial graduate can feel like the pressure is never ending. Students are met with advice bombarding them from all around and it’s up to them to wade through and figure it out.
Here are a few things I wish I’d known before graduating from college:
Take it One Day at a Time
There are many things that I wish I’d known going into my new job, but this is the most important.
In school, you have a constant scale to measure your performance; grades. You get them for everything and you know when you’re doing well (or not). The real world isn’t like that. The story of the tortoise and the hare applies here – the turtle wins the race. It’s not a sprint to the finish line. There is no “end game”. There is no “final” that you take, pass, and move on from the class. It’s a job full of new experiences and new learning opportunities.
So relax, don’t stress, and take it one day at a time.
Be a Sponge
As you’re taking it day by day, become a sponge. This is something I’ve heard numerous times throughout the last few years – I even have it hanging at my desk.
Remember, you are surrounded by people who are:
- More experienced than you
- Highly talented with a variety of skills different from your own
- Willing and able to teach, lead, and help you grow
Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that? Your co-workers will be your best, most useful tool. Observe. Actively Listen. Ask Questions. Learn. Be a Sponge.
Be Humbly Confident
There is such a thing as being too confident. Yes, you just received your diploma and you’re educated in a specific field. Don’t walk in on day one thinking you know better. Chances are, you don’t.
What I wish I’d understood was the difference between being confident and being humble. Share your ideas in a respectful manner and ask questions to seek understanding. Be confident in your knowledge and your answers and be humble in your delivery.