Things I wish I knew after Graduating from University, Part 1

Sister's Graduation photo

Sister’s Graduation photo

My first year of full time work was a breeze. I landed a job in my top company of choice. As a fresh graduate, I dived in head first, eager to prove myself and make a difference in the world.

Soon the reality of working life caught up with me and left me disillusioned. Workplace conflicts. Unmet expectations. Feeling that my work didn’t matter.

Having open and honest conversations helped me move forward in my disillusionment. Over time through conversations and books, I realised that I had a warped view of what work life was meant to look like. Knowing these things could have softened my transition from study to work life.

Don’t be in a hurry to change the world

Companies hire you to first make money, whether it is in the form of generating sales or reducing costs. Once you have proven your ability to generate profit, you will naturally earn the power to make decisions that can make a difference in the world.

Take risks

One of the best things about being fresh out of university is that you have nothing to tie you down, no mortgage, no partner, no kids. It’s a great time to take risks because you have nothing to lose. Join a start-up. Take three months off to go and travel. Run marathons. Do an internship at your local church.

Hard work and connections make a killer combo

Hard work alone does not sell itself. Good connections with people of influence combined with excellence in your job will enable your reputation to travel by mouth. Rather than talk yourself up, allow others sell your talents by helping them and doing a good job in the process.

Your first job will not likely be what you imagined work life to be

Instead, your first job will help you find out what you dislike and you can use that to narrow the scope down to what you enjoy. Finding a job that you love is a journey that takes time, so enjoy the journey while you are at it.

Embrace mundane, routine work

Routine work is unavoidable. Use this as a chance to take a breather from stressful periods. Be grateful for a job that provides.  When you are constantly under the pump to produce results, you will come to relish the times when all you had to do was menial tasks.

You are more than your job title or description

Your job title does not define you anymore than your name does. You have hobbies, passions and a personality that is greater than your job description. Your job only makes up a small part of who you are. Even Solomon found that his work was not able to fulfil him in the end. Place your identity in God and not in your work.

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