Graduation is right around the corner for a whole new crop of college students about to enter the real world. The world does not owe you a living, and does not care about what you think or feel, just what you do and can get done. If you have not already made plans for what you are doing in May, it is time to get on it. And be ready for a shock — the amount of work you will be doing is a lot more than what you are used to.
My wakeup call to this fact of life was delayed a little bit because I had a year of post-graduate education that was supposed to prepare me for my first job as a submarine junior officer. But the wakeup call came quick, as two weeks after reporting to my new submarine, we left port for 6 months. This was non-stop shiftwork, learning how to operate all the submarine systems, punctuated by terror inducing drills and alerts. College life was nothing compared to the bone-depth weariness I felt in between extended frenzied activity sessions.
A few years back I was talking to my brother who was in his last semester of college. He was on track to graduate, and was working hard on finishing classes and labs. I had called in some favors and helped him get an interview at a high tech firm in Silicon Valley doing exactly what he wanted to do. He initially demurred, saying he needed to get a good grade on his project lab. Grades??? The whole purpose of going to college is to prepare you for getting a good job. If you have the chance to land a good job, take it! Fortunately he took the trip, aced the interview, and got the job. He still loves living out there. He works his butt off, and is fortunate to be doing something he enjoys.
The business world is non-stop. The harder you work, the better you can do. The problem is that college gives you a good foundation, but just about no job skills. So the first few years of working is all about gaining skills. After two years of learning skills, you will be hitting your stride and actually be useful. During those two years, your employer is going to want to see you work really hard to be as effective as possible as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, the real world provides the proper motivation to get you to work hard, because as soon as you graduate the bills start piling up. Unless you are one of the fortunate few who can move back in with your parents and leech off them for a while, you are going to need to make enough money to have a place to live. Plan on living in a low end apartment with some roommates to save money for a while, and don’t worry about having too much stuff, because you will be working.
Author: Rolf Versluis
Published at Priority Queue