5 Things I Learned From My Graduate Job

August 31, 2017

Just finished university and are starting a new job? Terrified to get one? It's not as awful as you think - here's what I've learned in my first 12 months of 'real life' work.
Leaving education after 16 years was so weird. I'm probably never going to sit in another lecture, hand in another essay, or be forced to down a pint of shitmix because of the rules of a card game. I'm also going to have to get up early five days a week, concentrate for almost eight hours straight (no Netflix breaks?!?) and be responsible, useful and contribute to a real life global business.  

I mean, it's always drilled into you that you'd have to get a job eventually but when you're 20, sat in a onesie with a bag of doritos watching Disney movies with your best friend, the fact that you'll soon be sat in an office doesn't really sink in.

I know I struggled with adjusting to this new life and I'm still struggling to get my head around it now. So I thought it might be useful to compile a list of things I learned for those who are soon to be getting a graduate job, those a little to scared to properly try to get one, or those that are as terrified as I was to start something new.   

1. Don't be scared to ask questions

Most people will understand that you've come straight from university and don't know office etiquette or where they keep the staples. They're also more than willing to help if you've been given a task you don't quite understand. HR is usually full of friendly faces and it's their job to make sure you feel comfortable - don't be afraid to ask!

2. It's okay to say no (and voice your opinions)

There's that idea that entry level jobs are supposed to work you to the ground and that you have to work around the clock if you're going to climb the ladder. This isn't necessarily true. Your boss is more likely going to want quality over quantity so if you're struggling under the workload or you think something isn't quite right, say so. If you have a good idea, don't be afraid to voice it! Maybe they employed you for that semi-fake work experience on your CV, or because you have new ideas, wit and are interesting to speak to! Either way, it wasn't to sit quietly in meetings with your head down.

3. Your boss isn't as scary as you think

It's difficult to remember that those above us within the company are just normal people too. And while they do have 1 million things to do, more often than not they will set aside some time for the newbies. I've had to work with the CEO on numerous projects and the pressure to impress can often be a little overwhelming. Take a breath and remember that they're humans too; dads, mums, husbands, wives and fellow Netflix watchers. They're not as scary as you've been led to believe and trust me, they won't fire you on the spot for making a mistake!

4. Don't panic if this wasn't in your career plans

My dream is to work for a large book publisher, reading through transcripts of novels, proofreading, editing and living in stories. While working in marketing for an IT company doesn't seem quite as relevant, it does allow me to develop my writing, editing and proofreading skills on a daily basis. You're extremely lucky if you've managed to land a job directly relevant to your goal profession but if you haven't, remember we all have to start somewhere.

5. Never underestimate the politics of the tea round!

You don't want to be the new person who willingly accepts a hot drink but never offers to make one in return. Trust me, people get serious about that shit. If someone makes you a cuppa, be a good egg and offer to make them one later. They'll appreciate it and the office kitchen is a great place to get to know other members of the team!

Starting a new job is always terrifying and awkward but you'll get used to it eventually and soon you'll be teaching the new terrified graduate where the toilet rolls are kept. And if you haven't managed get yourself a job yet, keep trying. There's something out there for everybody and even if it's not what you think you want to do, you could end up loving it! Good luck! 

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