So here I was at graduation, happy for the most part, ready to take on the world and mostly excited for what was to come. I had landed a full time offer before graduation and was looking forward to finally be working as an engineer.
As my starting day was approaching, I was feeling increasingly nervous because everyone tells you that college does not prepare you for the real world, that what you do in classes is not what working will look like, or that for the most part you don’t know anything. All of these were true to some extent. At least to me. Let me explain by telling you 5 things I learned about starting a new job out of college.
- You really DO not know anything
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you learned nothing, just that you need to be prepared and be okay with not knowing everything. While what I do is actually very surprisingly similar to what I learned and did in classes, I did not know the ins and outs of things on my first day (obviously). Me being the perfectionist that I am, I totally stressed out about this for no reason. You will learn things by doing them little by little.
2. Be open and willing to learn
Ask lots of questions. Be interested in learning as much as you can from your boss and your coworkers. The only way you are going to learn everything is by doing things and by asking questions. Don’t sit and wait for people to just teach you things. Be proactive and intentional in your work and your learning and use your resources.
Your boss does not expect you to know everything. They realize that you just graduated and they have been where you are so they understand more than you know. My boss and my coworkers shared with me what their very first day looked like and it was very similar to what I was going through. So try to relax and enjoy the fact that you love what you do ( assuming you do.)
4. Give yourself time
Give yourself time to learn. It won’t happen in one day or even a week or a month. Give yourself time and if you make mistakes, learn from them and fix them. Like I said before, no one expects you to be perfect at doing your job the day you start. All of this comes with experience that you are in the process of getting. Little by little you will find yourself being more comfortable at doing your job.
5. Form relationships
Be friendly and socialize with your coworkers. You guys are part of a team and honestly, the learning will start with your peers because they have been there before you and know a lot. Ask them questions, befriend them, and create the perfect work atmosphere because it will make your life easier.
If you are currently starting a new career, don’t panick, give it time and remember to relax. You got hired for a reason!