The transition from attending college to graduating and entering the workforce calls for a mindset adjustment. Your attitudes, assumptions and methods of operation need to be tweaked so that they align with your new goals—becoming more independent and finding secure employment. There are several different mindset changes that graduates need to make during this change in their lives. This article will address 5 of those.
1. Create Realistic Expectations
When you attended college you had expectations of getting a college education and experiencing a unique learning environment on campus. However, now that you’ve graduated, you need to adjust those expectations to align with your new goals. For example, you need to find secure employment and earn money to begin your journey toward becoming an independent adult and contributing member of society. Your expectations must mesh with the current job market where the Economic Policy Institute estimates that, “16.8 percent of new graduates are underemployed…either jobless or hunting for work.” As you adjust your mindset to create realistic expectations, temper those facts with a balance of healthy optimism. You need an appreciation for both factors in order to succeed as a new graduate.
2. Prepare for the Unexpected
In line with the first mindset change, you need to make another adjustment and begin to prepare for the unexpected. For example, the realistic expectations you have been cultivating should begin to prepare you for the possibility that you will not get a job immediately after graduation. Additionally, you may have to accept a significantly lower paying job than you had hoped to find. If you do not prepare for unexpected realities, you will be unprepared to handle them in a mature and effective manner. Remember, that every step you take; especially directly after graduation, will positively or negatively impact your future career. Take every step necessary to assess the risks so you can move forward to hopefully find many rewards during this new journey in your life.
3. Seek Your Independence
Attendance at college or university is a growing experience for every student who attends. Most young high school graduates look forward to leaving home to attend college. That is one step closer toward independence. However, there is still that link of depending upon the parents when needed during the college experience. As a college graduate, you need to adjust your mindset to include a serious desire to seek your own independence as a responsible adult seeking reliable employment. Your attitudes and assumptions need to begin to change as you realize that your life is now your own. You are now exclusively responsible for your future success. Sure, you will always have your family around for support. However, your mindset needs to change as you embark on this new journey of professional development.
4. Become a People Watcher
During your college years, you were a people watcher—most likely without even realizing it. However, now that you have graduated, you must adjust your mindset to include an avid fascination with people watching. Obviously, you won’t take this to the extreme and become a stalker. The point is that you need to adjust your mindset to see the immense value in understanding other people and their behaviours. The college years are meant to be a time of learning and getting to know yourself better. Once you graduate, you should expand your perspective to the realm outside yourself. Developing your people skills is one of the most vital factors that will positively impact your entire future career and assist in developing you as a productive professional.
5. Develop Symbiotic Relationships
Many of your relationships in college most likely were with friends and boyfriends or girlfriends. Hopefully, you got some networking in during your college experience. However, after graduation, you need to make one more final mindset adjustment and begin to see the value in developing symbiotic relationships. For example, learn how to appreciate individuals in the workplace, such as managers and older colleagues, who have more actual work experience than you do. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you know it all simply because you are part of the younger, “smarter”, tech-savvy generation. This is where the symbiotic relationships come into play. Be open to sharing your tech knowledge in a genuinely beneficial fashion with those “wiser” colleagues just mentioned. Hopefully, both young and old can come together to work in a productive symbiotic workplace relationship.
Your mindsets are an important part of who you are. They will grow, develop and change over time. That is all part of the natural order of this life. As a recent college graduate, what mindset changes have you had to make as you entered into the workforce?