5 Things to Know About the World of Work

Working your first job is different from life as a student

If you just completed college or career school and are starting out in your first job, congratulations are in order! You will have a chance to put your career training to use, and better yet, all those nights of studying will finally pay off!

What can you expect of the world of work? For people who have been students all their lives, the transition to the working world may take some getting used to. Here are some tips to help you get adjusted to your new life.

1. The vacation schedule is different

As a student, you probably enjoyed long summer breaks, but when you begin a full-time job, you will find that the vacation schedule is different. You won’t get long breaks in the summer, spring, and winter, but many full-time jobs do provide you with some paid time off. Professional jobs often provide about 5 to 10 days of paid vacation, 6 paid holidays, and some sick time. This can increase over time as you gain more seniority. This may not sound like a lot of vacation, but look on the bright side…no homework!

2. Accountability

As a student, you were responsible for your own homework, tests, and grades. If you failed, it would mostly affect only yourself and not others. In your new job, however, you will be accountable to more people. You may have co-workers, patients, or clients who are counting on you to do your job well. This means you need to take your work seriously. If this kind of responsibility sounds daunting, don’t worry. You will get used to it quickly, and in the end, you well feel proud of the good work you do.

3. Professionalism is important

Have you ever come to school in your pajamas? Shown up to class not having combed your hair? Drifted off to sleep during a class? As an employee, you will be representing your employer, and these types of behaviors won’t fly. You will want to behave in a professional manner. This means dressing appropriately, being respectful of others, and building a professional reputation that you can be proud of. Even though you may miss the casual nature of being a student, it won’t take long for you to enjoy your new lifestyle and feel good about being a professional.

4. Beware of the know-it-all syndrome

Sometimes new graduates come out of college or career school and they are anxious to start using their new skills and knowledge. They sometimes start in a new position and feel that they know more than their bosses do. While it’s great to be eager, it’s important that you are not overconfident. Instead, give yourself time to learn the position. Ask thoughtful questions and get advice from more experienced co-workers. Your strengths will come out in time—you don’t need to shake things up the first day on the job!

5. Building your career takes patience

Starting out in a new career is an exciting time. But remember that building your career is a long process that requires patience. If you are just starting out in an entry level position, it will take time to build the skills and experience you need. But instead of getting impatient or frustrated, try to use this time to learn as much as you can about your job field, start building a career network, and find new ways to grow.

We hope these pointers help you understand some of the changes you will be facing as you enter the world of work. If the transition is difficult, remember that it’s natural to need some time to get adjusted to anything that is new. We wish you the best in launching your new career.


This post is a part of the Branford Hall Career Institute weekly blog, offering tips and advice for our students. Find out more about getting your new career path started with us.