10 Years After College: 10 Lessons Learned at Work

10 years career

Wow time flies! I cannot believe that it has been 10 years since I have graduated college. That sentence itself makes me sound like an old hand… What have I learned since graduating and how have I become a better professional?


1. There is more to it than a paycheck

When I completed my bachelor’s degree, I remembered that I had a specific salary amount that I wanted to earn. Actually, I had two. The first one was the money that I would earn from my first career related job. The second one was the amount of money I wanted to earn during the peak of my career. I soon realised there is more to your job than the paycheck you bring home. Yes, it is important to be able to pay for your lifestyle. However, time and fun are also important factors to consider when deciding on a potential job. The concept of time is a factor we tend to forget about when it comes to working post graduation. When I first got out of college and landed my first “real” job, I used to spend more time at work in order to bring in more money. I soon realized that this boring, high paying job was the source of my stress and unhappiness as I was upset that I didn’t have time to do in my free time.

In the end, it is better to choose a job you enjoy and have fun at than a boring one that pays higher. Trust me, you’ll soon get tired of it.


2. Your co workers are rarely friends

Remember the last time you left a job promising with your then co workers that “we’ll keep in touch”? How long did it last? I learned to appreciate coworkers and have friendly conversations with them without really considering them as friends. Also keep in mind who you talk to when it comes to your professional and personal life as I had to learn this lesson the hard way.


3. The knowledge and experience you will gain is valuable

After working for a couple of years, you will gain more experience and knowledge then you could have ever imagined. What you will learn and go through is worth something. It will help you earn a raise, get a more flexible work schedule, more vacation, or to a place higher up where you will be considered and recognized for your expertise.


4. Be pickier with time

I am more pickier with what I spend my time on then I was 10 years ago. Today I am a self-employed professional or a freelancer, whichever term you prefer. I now choose my own schedule and I’m not afraid to let go of some opportunities if it interferes with other things that I have planned.


5. Find yourself a mentor or a coach

Having a mentor during the first year post college is important because they will provide you with helpful advice and lessons that can prevent you from making beginner mistakes. For entrepreneurs, a mentor is a must have in order to be successful.


6. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion

When I was younger, I would do what I was told without really questioning, even though I sometimes disagreed with the plan. I have learned over the years that sharing my thoughts, ideas or opinions made me a more valuable worker. Of course, my ideas or opinions were not always the final decision; however, I was seen as someone who can bring something new to the table and make a difference. Trust me, speaking up is usually worth it on the long run.


7. Show your appreciation

If you work for someone else, don’t take your employer for granted. Show some appreciation when you gain more responsibilities or trust. On the other hand, if you’re self-employed, show that you appreciate to your customers or partners. It doesn’t hurt to to give people their props!


8. Admit that you make mistakes

For the most part, justifying your acts when you are wrong is a waste of time. Admit that you were wrong and move on. No matter how much experience you have.


9. Smile

Be someone fun to hang out with. Leave your personal problems at home and smile while you work. That will make you and your co workers days a lot more enjoyable.


10. Share your knowledge

Don’t keep it all for yourself! Share what you know with the rookies. You can even decide to mentor one of them. Use your experience and turn it into something profitable for you or the organization you work for. Who knows, you might learn something in return!


What is the most valuable lesson you learned throughout your post college working years?


Image source retrieved from Pinterest

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