If you’re graduating this spring, you’re probably full of trepidation about what awaits you on the other side of that commencement ceremony — even if you’ve been lucky enough to line up a job. No matter how casual the corporate culture you’re about to enter, it’ll be a big change from your life as a student. Here’s what to expect.
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1. You’ll make mistakes.
“By all means, take your job seriously. Do your best work and hand it in on time. But never forget you’re in your early 20s and you’re just breaking into the industry. You have tons of mistakes to make, and you’re going to make them,” writes Kristen LeBeau at Brazen Life. “When you do make the inevitable slip-up at work, don’t stress too much about it. Your boss and coworkers will understand. No one expects the new hire to know how to do everything in one day.”
Remember: saying sorry goes a long way, and accepting responsibility for fixing your errors goes even farther. Don’t grovel, but do head up the effort to straighten things out. You’ll be doing better than most of your co-workers who are years older.
2. Learn the corporate culture.
What was appropriate in the dorm will most likely be inappropriate in your new office, but that doesn’t mean you need to don a suit and tie every day. Take your cues from your manager: if she dresses up, so should you. If she stays late, likewise.
3. Catch up on anything you’ve missed in school.
Sadly, most colleges and universities don’t teach business writing, office etiquette, or basic budgeting. You’ll have to learn that on your own, and there’s no better time than right now. The first job after college often feels like moving to a new country. Get up to speed on the local customs, and you won’t have to spend the first year of your new gig apologizing for missteps.
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