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Office Tips for Recent Grads

February 2, 2012


Getting your degree is a huge accomplishment and probably one of the hardest things you have ever completed up to this point in your life.  College prepared me for a lot of things, and there were some things that I wasn’t prepared to deal with.

The “real world” is a lot different from classroom life.  You may be thrown into situations where you are working with or leading individuals that may have more experience or you may face challenges that no textbook could ever prepare you for.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare to make that transition from dorm room to boardroom.

Lose the sense of entitlement

From Day 1, you are on an even playing field with everyone else.  It doesn’t matter which college you went to or where you finished in your class rankings.  Your education will get you in the door, but it won’t keep the lights on when everyone is making you earn your stripes.

Forget about what you think is owed to you.  I see and hear about this all the time.  Instead, act graciously, make friends and soak up as much knowledge as you can from those around you.

Become your biggest advocate

Nobody is going to go out of their way to congratulate you when you complete a project, meet a deadline or close a big deal.  If anything, the veterans may try to steal it from you or take credit for work that you did.

Make every effort to let those that you report to aware of your efforts.  Copy your manager on any important outgoing emails.  If you don’t advocate on your own behalf, you may get overlooked or dismissed altogether.

Lay low

I know, I just said become your biggest advocate in the previous tip.  However, there’s a big difference between laying low and making sure your work does not go unnoticed. This tip is about finding out how everyone works in the office an assimilating to the company culture. Coming in as a new grad, you want to lay low initially.  Wait a while before breaking out the Mark Zuckerberg flip flops and hoodie.

You’re probably going to be tested or given the crappy projects.  It comes with the territory.  Just suck it up and do it.  If you get branded as the one who feels they are entitled, you’re going to have some very long days in the office.  Use this “lay low” period as a time to get a lay of the land and get to know your coworkers.

Going from getting financial aid to earning a real paycheck is an exciting thing.  Just keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be having a great time at company functions in no time.

Readers of this post also read:

Fake Your Way to the Top

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About Maro Onokpise

Maro Onokpise is the founder and Editor of Jobtrakr. He oversees all editorial content. Prior to turning his sights on the job industry, Maro was an Associate Manager for Banana Republic where he was responsible for Operations, HR and Recruiting. In 2010 Maro was featured on the cover of Career Magazine and was also named to Orlando Business Journal's 40 Under 40. Maro Onokpise is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

View all posts by Maro Onokpise


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