It’s true what they say, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
That is the one thing I believe has kept me going. I’ve learnt so much, over and above what I was hired to do, because of the attitude I have. My degree did not prepare me at all for the corporate world. There’s so much idealism in university, a distant dream of what the corporate world looks like. Reality did not match up.
You have to work with people and collaborate with them no matter how they feel that day or how they treat you. If you thought you knew how to type out an email, forget it and be willing to learn exactly how. It’s fast paced, things are constantly changing, and you have to catch up. Adulting is actually a thing so you will be doing a lot of that. It will all hit you the moment you walk into the office. What is expected of you, what you may do, what you may not do, the new changes you need to adapt to and the multiple mistakes you will have to learn from, BUT…remember to breathe.
Here are some tips I learnt from my first year in the work place.
Don’t worry about your age
You find yourself working with individuals much older than you and this can be a struggle. Growing up we are taught to respect our elders and sometimes you will hesitate to speak up out of respect. Showing respect to all your co-workers is important but you don’t have to shrink down just because of your age.
Everyone had to start somewhere
You are expected to make executive decisions within the scope of your role. Something you probably won’t be used to if you weren’t in leadership role. Remember everyone has been there. If you aren’t sure, just ask. If you make the wrong decision use it as a learning opportunity.
Keep it professional
Your professionalism will be tested as you interact with clients, provide a service and collaborate in the office. If you remain professional in all internal and external interactions you can never go wrong.
You’ll have no choice but to up your confidence as your get a few opportunities to sit with management and share your opinions. Remember confidence sells.
Find someone older and experienced who you can learn from
You need to be open to learning. In fact, you need to seek out learning opportunities. If you are lucky enough to find a mentor who is willing to share a cup of coffee and offer their advice, make the most of it.
The working world, quite frankly, isn’t easy but, I must admit it is fun. If you take it for what it is and learn at every step you will be fine. Your desire should be to constantly improve and not stagnate. You have a voice, a purpose and are well able to effect change. Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself and show yourself some grace. The workplace, much like life, is a journey not a destination.
By Vhutali Ratsethana, Student Advisor.