One of the best feelings in life is taking that diploma at graduation and realizing that you’re done with school. You’ve made it; you have a college education. The future is limitless, filled with possibilities and you will rock the world like no one else’s business. For many, this is true. For some, it’s just the beginning of the end. For several, it’s a fleeting thought that is quickly replaced with more realistic thoughts that perhaps a diploma is less like a magic wand or permission to be awesome and more like a stepping stone in the right direction. You can be anything you want, you can achieve greatness, but it often takes longer than overnight.
It’s discouraging to realize that your limitless future is actually quite limited at times – you can make it limitless yourself, but for many it takes time to do that. We all have to start somewhere, and sometimes that start is right at the bottom. As a new school year begins for those not yet in receipt of that college degree and reality begins for those who have just received theirs, we thought we might provide you with a few of the most invaluable pieces of advice for recent college graduates. Don’t be discouraged; let us help you reignite your fire within and change the world.
Welcome the bottom
Want to know what’s nice about starting at the bottom? Probably not the paycheck or the benefits, but the education you get down there is among the best in the world. What you learn at the bottom will help you succeed at the top. You will learn how the business works from the ground up – that’s important. You will also learn what it’s like to be down there. This information helps you learn how to treat your employees, what they might be thinking and how you can improve the business. The ground is not a bad place to begin when you think of it as a stepping stone and an educational adventure.
Network like crazy
When people tell me that they don’t like to network because it makes them feel as if they are using people for their connections, I’m confused. Isn’t that precisely what networking is all about? Isn’t that what we all do? The person you want to network with and reach out to has done the same thing time and time again, so why not do the same to him or her? It is all about business, and it is all about how you market yourself. Networking is the best way to market yourself. The worst someone can say is no or just ignore you, but you won’t have to sit back and wonder what might have happened if only you’d tried.
Try new things
So your degree is in this but you recently found a job in that. Why not go for it if they will hire you? It will only help while you are looking for your dream job, and who knows what might happen when you give it a chance. Perhaps you have a degree in journalism and want to work for a major television network but you’re offered a job at a fashion magazine. It might not seem like the hard-hitting news you want to report, but it’s still journalism and it still helps you add experience to your resume.
Besides, now you’re going to get to meet new people, make new connections, probably sample a few benefits (trips to fashion week, perhaps?) and really get to experience something that might teach you a few things that will benefit you later on. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Don’t get cocky
One thing that really does drive everyone in the workforce crazy is when a new grad comes in with a fresh diploma and a big attitude problem. Yes, you should be proud of yourself for all that you’ve accomplished, but having a Master’s Degree doesn’t make you smarter or better than the person who is your boss who might only have a Bachelor’s but has been in the position for two decades. You have to be proud of yourself, but understand that you have a lot to learn and a lot more to accomplish.
There is a saying that you never want to be the smartest person in the room – it’s the wrong room. Remember this in business; you want to surround yourself with people who are intelligent and excel at what they do. These are the people you learn from and the people who can teach you more than you ever imagined. Welcome that, be proud of yourself, but remember that you always have more to learn. In truth, you have more to learn until the moment you take your last breath – knowing that should keep you pretty good to go for the rest of your life.
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