I vividly remember watching the Toys-R-Us commercials as a kid and singing along with the catchy song, “I don’t wanna grow up; I’m a Toys-R-Us kid.” Though this tune was perfect for marketing the latest and greatest in toys and games to young children, it should not be your current mantra as a soon-to-be college graduate.
Employers hiring new grads hold high expectations for work ethic and commitment to the job that do not include showing up late in the mornings, whining about missing spring break, and posting sensitive or overly personal information on the internet. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports in the Job Outlook 2011 that work ethic is the where biggest gap exists between what employers value and what new grads bring to the job. Making adjustments to your daily routine now will help ease the transition from college to career when you graduate.
Think about the structure of your typical weekday. Are you up by 7 A.M. and filling up much of the “work week” with classes, studying, and student organizations? Or, are you still in bed at 11:00 A.M. running late to class, or taking 2 hour naps every afternoon? Prepare for the impending 8 hour work day by waking up early and starting your schedule by 8 A.M. This may require going to bed a little earlier at night but will be like second nature after your body adjusts to the change. Waiting until you start your career will be a rude awakening and could lead to late arrivals which are very frowned upon in most professional environments.
Enjoy your school breaks now but don’t whine about missing them later. Yes, everyone would love to have a week off in the spring, but in the real world, you must work a certain amount of time in order to accrue vacation leave. Take comfort in the fact that all of your coworkers are in the same boat and avoid complaining at work about not having more time off. Also, think carefully about how you use your leave time in order to save a few days for unexpected events.
Be conscious that your social media posts are visible to others. If you tend to post often and divulge a lot of personal information on the web, this may lead to bad habits in your professional life. Many industries deal with sensitive information which does not need to be shared with the rest of the world. Also, be aware of employers who can access your information. Facebook is not the ideal place to gripe about your boss or your job as your online activity is not private.
Going from college to your career is a big change, but you can prepare for it by making little changes now. This will make the transition smoother and will benefit you in the long run as you exhibit maturity and professionalism on the job and as well as in your personal life.