Adulting as A New Professional

January 25th, 2017
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By: Whitney Welker*

As a recent college graduate, it would be a lie if I said that working in the ‘real’ world turned out to be everything I thought it would be. You know what I’m talking about. The whole ‘oh now my life is magically all together’ scenario. You land the perfect job and all of a sudden you have all this free time for friends, perhaps a hobby, oh and of course you meet your soul mate almost immediately {retch}. At least that’s what we are led to believe;MayaAngelouStillLearning that all of our problems will be solved by our first job. WRONG.

One of the first things I learned out of college was that everything I’d need to know about doing my job to the best of my ability wasn’t necessarily going to be things I learned in the classroom.  All of those ‘real life’ scenarios, case studies and pitches that we worked on so diligently meant very little now. Yes, while in college I learned intangible skills to prepare me for landing a job, and I most definitely learned more about the industry, but there was so much more to learn.

As a result, I started looking to my coworkers for examples and advice. To give a little background, with my job I am a marketing department, of one, for the region I support, so it’s pretty safe to say that learning by brainstorming and picking the brains of my coworkers was going to be my best option. Learning from your coworkers can actually be one of the best things as well. They have been in the industry longer than you, so use that experience to help yourself succeed.

Another thing that I learned was not to try and tackle the world in a day. This will never work. I find myself making a To Do list for the day with about 25 things on it. Let’s be honest, all of those items are not going to get done today. So I learned to make a weekly To Do list, and a daily To Do list. This way I can take the time to focus on the tasks that I need to get done that day instead of worrying about a project that I have more time to work on. Sounds like college multitasking again, right?

Working with others is probably the biggest obstacle for me in the ‘real’ world. You don’t realize this as much in college because although you have group projects to work on, those only last, at most, a semester. When you are in the workplace, this ‘group project’ can last years. With so many moving parts in a company I find myself speaking with multiple departments on a daily basis. This means MANY ‘group projects’. It was vital for me to begin learning more about my co-workers’ personalities so that we could succeed as a whole. This means learning when is the right time of day to contact someone. Do they like to have their coffee before talking business? Do they prefer an email over face-to-face or phone conversations? All of these traits, and more, need to be identified so that you can make the most of your time and theirs.

In all, my first job has been great. I love my company, coworkers and job duties. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have been given, and still look to expand my knowledge about the industry on a daily basis. I believe that when you stop learning, you stop producing. So stay inquisitive and know that although the world after college is tough, you can succeed if you try your hardest every day.

Do you have tips for new communications professionals embarking on their first “adult job” that you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you!

 

*Whitney Welker is a Marketing Analyst for a utility company. She enjoys the diversity of her role as she not only creates marketing pieces, but also handles customer communication and website content. In her free time Whitney likes to spend time at her family farm and traveling with her friends.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/whitneywelker15
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitney-welker-311a93a5

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