Remember, Work Is NOT School

This should be a no-brainer, but it needs to be said: work is not school.

It should, in fact, be much more enjoyable! This is your opportunity to decide to embark on a career path that matches your interests and aligns with your skills. You literally will have the whole world as your oyster, the hard (but exciting) part is to discover which direction you’re first going to dive-in.

One thing to keep in mind is that unlike in college where your classes will probably pertain directly to your major, in the real world no one separates job positions with employers. Keep in mind that some positions can be a great fit, but they may not be at the type of company where you’d be proud to be employed. Or on the flipside, your employer is wonderful, but the position you’ve just scored is anything but what you want to be doing for 40+ hours every week. Try to find a good fit in both the specific position and the company.

Although you’ll be expected to be an independent and productive employee, you aren’t expected to come in on day #1 knowing everything. You’re expected to run into problems, ask many questions, and you should be on the lookout for a mentor. Although you won’t have a career or academic adviser at your fingertips anymore, you can and should have supervisors or older peers with whom you can build a trusting relationship. Once you feel on comfortable ground, they can become your mentor(s) and professional role model. No one wants to babysit fresh out of college employees, but your boss should be very aware of the fact that this may be your first full-time position and will take steps to acclimate you to the 9-5 work environment.

Lastly, you should not be still be pulling all-nighters. Make sure to keep a work/life balance by having an end to your workday.  This is very difficult to maintain with the prevalence of 24/7 connectivity to media; however, I highly recommend turning your phone off or on sleep mode when you head home. This way, you’re not getting emails from your boss at the wee hours of the night. Remember, this is now your job and you’re not in school – enjoy the benefit of not having homework and looming finals to study for – so work to put up appropriate boundaries in order to enjoy your free time.

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Alexa Loken

Alexa has always had a passion for effectively marketing wonderful people and cause-based organizations. After eight years in the environmental world, she saw that success hinges in large part on public communication and as such received her Master’s degree in Media, Culture & Communications from New York University. Alexa’s love of promoting organizations that positively influence the world inspired her to start her first company, the cause-based marketing firm: Loken Creative and then Loken Careers, a career coaching and development agency for young professionals. She’s worked all across the country, including Austin, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Hawaii.