Just finished college? About to enter the corporate world? This one is for you.
You must be excited about leaving college and starting work. It can be a heady feeling. You have so many ideas and dreams to make into a reality. But the corporate world works on a different set of rules compared to college. If you know the rules, your chances of succeeding and being happy will be higher.
How are companies different from colleges? In college, people expect nothing from you except to study and pass. In the corporate world, people expect very different things from you. They expect you to
-Be a skilled professional who can deliver the job on time
-Collaborate pleasantly and effectively with your colleagues
-Uphold the company’s culture
-And so on…
These expectations are reasonable because they are paying you for your services. So you must find a way to meet these expectations in a happy, positive way.
If you breezed through college, you are likely to breeze through your first few years of work but bear in mind that the game changes and when it does, you will need to raise your game.
As a coach, here are my tips for millennials on how to handle their first job and set a good foundation for their future work life:
Be Prepared: If you have three hours to cut a tree, spend two and a half hours sharpening your axe. Nothing beats good preparation. Understand the organization. Learn the processes. Learn who your stakeholders are. Understand what your boss wants from you and do your best to deliver it. The days of whiling away time are over. You are now part of a company. You need to be alert and informed in order to be perceived as valuable.
Stay curious: Try to learn as much as possible. At this stage in your career, people are willing to help you and explain things more than once. So use this to your advantage! Learn as much as possible. Leverage the buddy system or the new hire support program to get assimilated into the system as soon as possible.
Be accepting and open: Youth always believes they are right. But the world of companies is full of people who come from different backgrounds, all of whom have a different, and valid, point of view. Don’t assume your point of view is the only one. That could become your undoing. Be open to all points of view. You may find certain people and systems ‘uncool’ or old-fashioned but your first impressions could be wrong. Don’t complain. Don’t get your mind into a “this place sucks” mode. Instead train yourself to say, “What can I make possible in this place with my talents?” Most importantly, respect everyone you meet. The world owes you nothing
Show up and pitch in: This is the time to learn new things and make new friends. At the first opportunity, pitch in to be part of a project that excites you. It will help you interact with people in cross functional teams and make like-minded friends for life. You will also learn valuable lessons in team work, getting things done, negotiating, team dynamics etc. – all of which you would not get otherwise. Also, don’t confine yourself to a pigeonhole. Just because you were trained as a marketing person doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands dirty in a procurement meeting. Everything is connected to everything else in business. Participate. Learn. Grow.
Pick carefully and crush the project: Choose your projects carefully and give them your 110%. This is the time to show what you are capable of doing and delivering. In organizations, performances and results matter and you are only as good as your last project. Take projects where you know you can do well. Show every one – team leaders, management, etc. – that you are dependable. This will pave the way for exciting projects in the future. Making the right choice in terms of projects is also important as your failures and successes tend to become your ‘baggage’ that you carry around in your head for the rest of your life. If you have no choice but to participate in a project you are not confident about, state your scope of work clearly.
Build your reputation: Work continuously on your strengths and deliver your best work on all the projects you undertake. You do not know yet that your work builds your reputation and therefore your net worth in the industry. You will be known for your work and for your nature.
Nurture a network: Creating friendships in the work place is very important. Make meaningful friendships and develop mentors with whom you are comfortable discussing your career plans and progress. Build a network, and plan time to nurture each valuable connection you are making, just as you would invest in a personal relationship. It is said that ‘you are only as good as your network’.
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories.
Many of us in our thirties experience a disquieting realization: what brought us to middle-management may not take us to senior-management. This is true. To chart a new career path, one needs to think and do things differently. This is where Sandhya can help. She is a coach. Life coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, personality development, leadership coaching… they are all part of her forte. Her Executive coaching programs helps tomorrow’s leaders set new goals, make new plans to achieve those goals, get that elusive promotion through a blend of knowledge, action and image-building, enhance influence among the leadership team, be more productive, get more out of one’s team, and be known in the company as an indispensable performer and future leader.