Top 7 Survival Tips For New Grads In The Workplace

Recent college grad holding work laptop

For many new graduates, moving from school into the workplace is a huge culture shock. They are going from an environment where everyone has been the same age and generational outlook to a suddenly diverse social environment with people of all ages and backgrounds present.

Learning the ropes of a new job, mastering the social ladder of a workplace, and, in general, trying to figure out business etiquette can be pretty frustrating for new workers. Here are some survival tips for new grads in the workplace on navigating their bold new venture in the working world:

1. Be Patient

Recent college grad works at his new job


Today's graduates are used to the fast pace of technology and, in a way, this has built up a low tolerance for being willing to wait. Especially for job promotions or advancement. But unfortunately, the big wheels of business don't move that quickly and sometimes the opportunity simply isn't there yet.

Take a deep breath. It will happen, but not necessarily on YOUR timeline. Great things come to those who wait!

2. Don't Forget To Thank Those Who Help You

Recent college grad listens to a mentor at his new job


Manners do matter, and those who have made the effort to help you remember who has thanked them or not. This can have far-reaching impacts on your career.

Those individuals who become your biggest supporters (and this is reinforced by taking the time to thank them) can open doors you can't even imagine...both now and in the future.

3. Realize Your Career Will Be A Series Of Choices, Not "A" Choice

Recent college grad works at her new job


I read somewhere the average high school student today is going to have 23 jobs in their lifetime. So, if statistics don't lie, you definitely won't be putting all your eggs in one basket.

Don't like the work that you are doing? Is it not rewarding enough? Then develop your transferable skills and roll them into a new job where you'll enjoy what you're doing.

4. Tread Lightly And Carefully

Recent college grad talks to a coworker at work


I am not saying you need to fear your co-workers, but you should know that the office political environment can play out in similar fashion as social cliques back in school...with deadlier consequences.

Refrain from gossiping and choose your words carefully. Until you have an accurate read on each person in your office, keep your cards close to your chest. Gossip never has a place in the workplace, but it does happen, and that person you confided in could just as easily turn around and stab you in the back. Keep your own counsel.

5. Education Doesn't End With Your Graduation

Recent college grad stressed about work


Not too many career centers or colleges/universities prepare students for the staggering fact that their education isn't ending. In fact, it is just starting.

Beyond your formal schooling, there's a whole new universe of learning called "professional development." This is the stuff that will give you the job-specific skills to be successful. The sooner you can become aware of the fact that you need to demonstrate continuous learning by taking classes, trainings, workshops, webinars, and attending conferences, tradeshows, and conventions, as well as gaining industry certifications, the sooner you'll get ahead of anyone else in your graduating class.

This process does not end until you retire. And if you ignore this area, you will have a much more difficult time with career advancement because employers are hiring subject matter experts. How can you build your knowledge?

6. Network

Recent college grads at their new job


In school, this was called making friends. And you'll be doing that same thing, but in a business context.

Some of my best friends were met while we were working together. The point is that networking really is building a connection with people with whom you have some kind of shared interest or goal. When you have that "spiderweb" of people in your network, you'll find that job and life opportunities flow your way much easier because these are the people who can and want to help you.

7. Realize Your Office Mates Aren't Your Parents

Recent college grad takes notes at work


I say this tongue-in-cheek, but the subtext to this statement is really important: you are now on your own and you cannot expect anyone to pick up your slack. Everything you do from this point forward is business, and not bound by any bonds other than your employment agreement.

It's pretty scary to be suddenly put out in the "cold" after having warm, supportive environments at home and school. The working world doesn't operate that way. You either sink or swim. You are judged by your actions and you should always do the right thing and never expect someone to be there to catch you when you fall. That's called life, and over the course of your career, you are going to make mistakes and you'll have to learn from them. That's called experience. And the more experience you gain, the closer you'll be to reaching your career goals.

If you're a recent college grad just starting out in your career, follow these seven tips to survive in your first job. Remember: the beginning is the hardest part. You've got this!

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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