Little is known when we talk about the working world, especially for young students and future graduates, aside from getting paid for what you do. However, the responsibilities in the working life are broader and different from when we are in university. Back then, students did not have to worry about their financials since they are still living off their parent’s money. Therefore, once you start receiving that paycheck, monthly expenditures for car loans, internet, water, electricity bills, and more will begin piling up. Reminding you of the good ol’ days in college where you only need to worry about your attendance and assignments.
Taking that first step may seem exciting, but it is more daunting once you grasp the full extent of it. You will get paid for all your hard work, but the sum might not equal the workload you will get. Working is taking that first real step into becoming an adult. Meaning dealing with other adults of different ages, backgrounds, qualifications, and cultures. Those luxuries of having your friends sign the attendance for you when you’re too tired to make it to class or relying on the most competent member in your group for assignments are no longer a thing.
“At your job, performance matters, and it will make a significant difference to your future career and also the company’s overall success.”
With that being said, we have listed down the reality of the working world to prepare you better for something you might not be expecting as a student or future graduate.
1. Expectation: You will have more free time since there will be no assignments and classes
Reality: Semester breaks will be deeply missed.
Are you overwhelmed with your assignments, group projects, curricular commitments, and never-ending exams in university? Then you are in for a massive shocker once you enter the working world. Say goodbye to your 2-weeks break or three months semester breaks where you get plenty of time to recharge. Unless it’s a public holiday, let’s face it, every weekday is a working day. On the other hand, you can apply and use your precious annual leave, which you only get roughly around 14-20 days in a year.
Unlike university, where you have the freedom to arrange and plan your schedule yourself, the working life comes with its own fixed 9-6 work hours by the company. Thus, how much freedom do you actually get? I’d say little to none.
2. Expectation: There will be no more unnecessary and absurd amount of assignments
Reality: I have a report to submit by the end of this week, but I also have to prepare my slides for tomorrow’s presentation and that meeting next week.
While you may not need to write a 10-page research paper, you will most probably realise the similarity between that and the works you are given. Back in university, your only concern is to pass to get good grades. However, in the workplace, you have real responsibilities that can affect an entire organization. You have goals to achieve, work to get done, colleagues to argue with during meetings, and deadlines to meet.
Aside from that, you will have to master multitasking as you juggle multiple projects, works, and client deliverables simultaneously, just wishing to be back to your university days.
3. Expectation: You will never have to deal with group drama or do group works ever again
Reality: You will be assigned to this new project, and these are the team members you’ll be working with for the next couple of months.
Let’s face it, no matter where you go or what you’re doing, you can never escape working with other people. As horrifying as it might sound, group works are essential at ensuring that work is getting done by the correct person and avoiding unnecessary burnout from work overload. With that, you will surely meet people that are difficult to work with.
However, despite having difficult personalities, they won’t be as horrible as the group members in your university. Due to the fact that at a job, someone can get suspended or, worse, get fired. Hence, hang in there and focus on getting your work done.
4. Expectation: Everyone’s an adult now, which means I can befriend all my colleagues
Reality: I appreciate you as my colleague, but this is strictly a professional relationship.
The dynamic when you’re studying in university and working in an office are two completely different things. While it’s considered a norm to make lifelong friends in university, it is actually the complete opposite with colleagues.
It is normal to feel like being best friends with everyone and invite people for hangouts after work. Regardless, it is vital to remember that everyone has their own group of friends outside of work. “We see each other 9-5 every single weekday, why should we communicate outside of a work setting?” That does not mean that people have ill feelings towards you. Instead, it is healthy to have your own downtime away from anything or anyone that reminds you of work.