Many college students just starting their new careers find themselves exhausted from the 9-5 and don’t understand why work is so much different (and often harder) than the academic school schedule. In school, college students could stay up until 2am (or later), enjoy sleeping in until 9 or 10 (or later) and design a schedule of academics, sleep, and social life that lets you choose their own work hours and time frame.
Work is different. Work is arduous, repetitive, and an every day long-haul. Work comes up every morning at 8am and lasts until well past 5 pm for many professions. It’s tireless, relentless, and demanding. It involves far more than the 9-to-5, because you spend time getting ready for it, commuting to and from your job site, and even after-hours time venting, stressing, or thinking about it.
There’s a reason why they call it “work.” And a reason you get a paycheck (however measly your take home pay may be after Uncle Sam steps in). Someone is paying you to do hard work for them.
You’re probably overwhelmed – adjusting to the new work schedule, adjusting to working life, and making new friends. Chances are, you’ve relocated for your job and left both your familiar school environment and most of your friends behind. Transitioning to a new job and a new area is difficult. How do you understand what resources you have? What is work culture and how do you fit in? What strategies have you outlined to do the best job you can and succeed within your field? What are your professional goals and how do you outline them? How are they implemented over time? What tools do you have to measure your professional development and progress? All of these are questions that will come up during your first few years at the job.
Work is different than school in many key ways. No more academic calendar and no more three-month extended summer vacation: you’re in for the long haul. How you define your workspace, what work-life balance means to you, and how you define your long-term goals are critical success tools.