Many people report that the American education system does not provide adequate preparation for people leaving college and entering the workforce. Young people may feel they lack real-world knowledge for example, about paying taxes and applying for mortgages or loans. As well, many experience “imposter syndrome,” the feeling that they are failing at their job or are lost in their role.
One reason for these common feelings is that the education system prioritizes testing, instant feedback, and in some cases “hand-holding” guidance. You study a subject, you’re tested on that subject, and receive feedback almost immediately. The workplace does not provide such instant feedback. Most workplaces offer annual or biannual reviews to provide critiques and feedback. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when transitioning into the workplace.
Tip 1: Communication is Key
Practicing open communication with colleagues and supervisors can be the key to adjusting to the workplace. Checking in with managers and supervisors can build a stronger working relationship and provide more feedback. It also helps develop open communication habits so you feel comfortable asking for assistance or extra training. Supervisors and managers need to know when you need extra assistance as soon as you recognize it. To avoid unsafe working conditions or practices, and production losses, business owners or managers need to know promptly if communications or instructions are unclear.
Tip 2: Self-Advocacy And Self-Care
One of the most common issues many people experience when entering the workforce is overwork. Often people feel that they need to “prove themselves” in the first few months or years at a new workplace. The truth is, you were most likely hired through a process of interviewing and because of your educational/experience background. You have already proven yourself.
Beginning a new job, or entering the workforce does not mean self-care should take a back seat. In most cases, starting a new job requires additional self-care as you adjust to this transition. Actively practicing self-care will help you cope with this and it may include learning to advocate for yourself. You may need to take time off when feeling unwell, either physically or mentally. Starting this life transition can feel unsettling and nerve-wracking at first, but being able to engage in open communication and setting boundaries in the early stages of a new job will set the stage for how your new job will respect your time outside of work.
Tip 3: Professionalism
Treat others the way you would like them to treat you. Treating all colleagues, managers, and bosses with equal respect and professionalism is one of the most important rules. This should include proofreading written communications to ensure they are clear and respectful or addressing other workers with respect in the workplace no matter what position they may hold. Treat yourself similarly. Being respectful and caring to yourself as you adjust and transition to the workplace or new job will give you the mental flexibility and patience you need to apply to others. Practicing professionalism can also aid in networking skills within the field or workplace which can provide more future opportunities.
Leaving college and entering the workforce can feel overwhelming and unsettling, but it is important to know that you are not alone. There are countless individuals in the same boat Remember, everyone in the workforce had to start at one time. Keep your mental health needs in mind, and practice clear, respectful communication and professionalism. This will ensure you develop valuable life-long skills for your career in the workforce.
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My therapeutic style is compassionate, non-judgmental, and provides a safe and open space so that you may express yourself freely. I work with adults of all ages who are struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, career issues, life transitions, interpersonal issues, low self-esteem, couples’ issues, grief, and cultural and identity concerns. Together, we can work towards improving your quality of life as we identify and process the areas of your life that are causing you pain or discomfort. Then, we will work on developing and utilizing new skills to create a positive future for you.