In the Workplace

1. Transitioning Away from Education

Many new graduates are struck by the increased structure of their time and lives after many years as a student. Depending on the structure of your degree, which may have been as intense as a full time working pattern or may have been 2-3 days per week with lots of self-directed research time, your schedule may change. If you have experience working as an intern, in a part-time role, or perhaps you worked full time before studying, you have valuable experiences, but the employer expectations when you start your first graduate job can be very different. There are certain aspects of working life which can feel stressful when you first start and I’ll talk through some of them for you to consider. Reflect on any which feel personal to you. Are you worrying about any of these/have you identified coping strategies? 

  1. Your social life will inevitably change. Keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to ensure you strike the right balance so your work performance is unaffected by what you choose to do outside of work. Remember you’re being paid to perform your duties, so create healthy 'work night' habits to get enough sleep, and plan your evening activities accordingly
  2. Graduates often report feeling a "culture shock" entering the workplace. This may be the first time you are not surrounded by members of your own age group; people may have different opinions, tastes, outlooks, and perspectives than you're used to
  3. If you’ve been successful in gaining a place on a graduate scheme or you’ve relocated in the UK or abroad, you may have a cohort of new graduates around you. Be professional, but fully grasp the opportunity to engage with this support and social network. You won’t be getting together with the same friends as often/whenever you want as you did at university which can feel restrictive, so take this opportunity to get to know your new peers, whether in your age group or not
  4. You may not have use of your phone or social media at any time during your working day which may lead to a feeling of disconnection
  5. You will face a lot of new challenges and should prepare yourself psychologically for how tired this will make you feel... this is completely normal  
  6. Familiarise yourself with the company/organisation mission statement and strategy so you understand how to behave in a way which considers the company’s brand and reputation. As a representative of the company, you must ensure you think about this during every interaction