How to Survive the Transition from College to Office | Top Universities

How to Survive the Transition from College to Office

By Guest Writer

Updated March 20, 2021 Updated March 20, 2021

Guest post: Swati Srivastava

For new college graduates, the transition from college life to a workplace environment is often challenging. Replacing the student lifestyle with a full-time job is a drastic change, especially if you’re not prepared in advance.

Here are a few survival tips to help you survive this major life change, so you can transition seamlessly into the corporate world!

1. Understand the generation gap

The people you meet in the office are different from those in your college campus, where usually all of you are of the same age group. In your workplace, you meet colleagues from all age groups, some at entry-level and others in managerial roles. Understanding the generation gap is probably your first key step. 

How to succeed: Be cautious about the way you communicate with your co-workers (go easy on the slang). Work on your communication skills to build a rapport with your colleagues and take an interest in the things they do, rather than sticking to your habitual college conversations. Be respectful and aware of workplace decorum.

2. Get used to the routine

Your daily schedule and social life undergo a change once you enter a corporation. Instead of enjoying your weekdays with friends, your routine is now based on eight or even more working hours in the office. This survival tip involves understanding the obvious change and analyzing that this is what comes after college life.

How to succeed: Obviously, you spent several years at college to get a job in your dream career. Right? However, this doesn’t mean that there will be no personal life. All you need to do is maintain a work-life balance. Eat healthy food, work out to counteract the effects of stress, and make the most of leisure time on the weekends.

3. Plan a budget

Your first job and first salary – you must have planned several things you couldn’t afford to do in college. Yes, you may want to plan expensive trips, buy designer clothes, and rent a nice apartment, but planning your budget is vital. Many young professionals lack the skills to manage their expenses, and hence are unable to save any notable amount.

How to succeed: Instead of ending up in a situation where you do not have sufficient savings and face stress later in your life, create and stick to a personal budget plan. Budget planning includes simple steps such as calculating your monthly income, adding up fixed expenses, setting your financial goal, and monitoring your budget. Remember, good decisions made at this stage are going to bear positive results throughout your life.

4. Seek new responsibilities

Just like you enjoyed seeking new assignments (volunteering for college fests, leading a sports event, etc.) in college, finding new challenges within your job and working on them keeps you enthusiastic and self-motivated.

How to succeed: Finding and accepting new opportunities, undoubtedly, helps in your career transition. Doing this also paves a path for learning something new (professional growth) and avoiding monotony at work. The key here is to be proactive, push yourself out from your comfort zone and take more responsibilities. Don’t wait for your boss to give you a green signal for any new assignment. Speak to her about what’s new or additional projects you wish to work on. This is surely a way to grow professionally, as well as personally.

5. Have patience and be effective

Do not deviate from your career plan. Young minds are often keen to gain professional growth instantly. Promotion at your workplace is not something you will achieve right away. Remember, “Rome was not built in a day.” It is also important to understand that being promoted depends on several factors, such as the company structure, new opportunities, and the overall financial performance of the organization.

How to succeed: Take your initial time to understand all these factors and work on your skills development to add to your credentials. Being effective at work always pay off in your career development. But how can you ensure that you don’t miss any opportunity, and become more effective at work? This can be achieved by following a holistic approach that includes identifying priorities, maintaining a positive attitude, building essential skills, and most importantly, learning while working. Workplace learning plays a crucial role in skill development.

6. Have a back-up plan

Remember, your first job will not last forever. Sometimes you would want to move on with a new job or some unexpected situations may arise, such as layoffs. Hence, it is imperative to get a backup plan (also known as career emergency plan) for your career.

How to succeed: Keep yourself abreast of market demands to beat the stiff competition. Understanding and developing the skills employers are looking for is one of them. Whichever job role or sector you choose to work in, it is always important to choose a job that does not conflict with your career goals.

This is just the beginning and you have miles to walk. Your destination (success) is certainly not too far!

Good luck.

Swati Srivastava is an avid writer who loves to share ideas and career tips for job seekers and professionals. Her blog posts, news stories, and articles are focused on the extensive domain of the employment sector in the Gulf. Currently she is writing for You can follow her on TwitterLinkedIn and Google+.

This article was originally published in June 2016 . It was last updated in March 2021

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