It’s that time of the year again – May, the graduation season!

My social media newsfeeds are filled with happy faces in graduation gowns, and playful snapshots in classrooms and around campus. If you are one of them, big congratulations to you! Looking back, do you realise how much you have accomplished over the past 2 decades? How much have you grown while working through the challenges and disappointments but still keep going? How much your mind has been expanded and opened up with every new concept and exposures you came across? I’m so proud of you!
happy graduates

Now, your phase of “learning within a box” has ended. You are moving on to the next phase –
Learning by Doing & Experimenting! The next 5 years will be your golden years to build your professional foundation and develop important career skills. Are you already fired up to go make some real impact on the world? Good for you! You know you may not have all it takes yet, and that’ why you need to choose relevant jobs. Jobs that align with your long-term goals to build your career capital, network capital and financial capital to lead you there. Meanwhile, do keep fueling that fire within you with hope and perseverance. You’ll need it when you are finally ready!
 
Alongside with the thrill to finally able to leave school, I can feel a little uncertainty inside you. After all you’ve only been a student all your life, so of course it’s going to be a huge transition for you!
 
My mission here at Career Liberals is to empower young talents like YOU to have the autonomy and flexibility in managing your careers. So here are 4 practical tips to help you go through this huge transition to work-life smoothly:
 

Graduation…Now What?

1. Be aware and respectful of generational differences

You’ve probably heard of the many discussion about millennials in the workplace like a different species. (And your are already Gen Z if you graduated in 2017). There is a drastically different outlook from the generations before who are used to the more traditional hierarchy of large corporate firms. Without awareness, it’s easy to feel misunderstood or even judged when working with people from different generations.
 
For example, putting your headphones on to block out the distractions in your cubicle seems perfectly natural to you; but the older generations might think it is not a proper etiquette in an office environment. While you can’t control how others react, always be respectful, explain your WHY, and ask the WHY about their suggestions to foster communications and understanding. Very often it’s just different style of expressions sharing the same objective.

2. Patience is a virtue – Set a reasonable timeframe for you to see the fruits of your efforts

 At the beginning of your career, your first tasks would probably be tedious, trivial or mundane items in daily operations. They are important – you need them to build your confidence and knowledge foundation so you can take up larger chunks of responsibilities later! Think about it, would it be too cruel for your supervisor to put you at risk for a huge challenge which could potentially crush your confidence right from the start?
 
There is a famous quote on performance which says, “How you do anything is  how you do everything.Thus prove your ability by doing those early tasks extremely well, and when you feel ready, ask for more responsibilities.

 3. Have healthy habits to keep you fit physically, emotionally and financially

As a mature and independent adult, your single most responsibility is to take good care of yourself! It means eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, manage your stress well. Work-life balance requires some disciplines to build healthy routines and stick to it. Sounds boring, but no aspects of life can be singled out to achieve overall happiness. Especially at the beginning stage you could easily feel overwhelmed with the workplace life, so having these healthy life habits keep you sane. Moreover, keep an eye on your financial planning, budgets and start tracking your expenditures. Many studies have shown that work pressure could lead to stressful eating and stressful shopping. Be aware of this inclination when you are just starting out.

4. Always seek growth and keep challenging yourself

As I mentioned, your first 5 years in your careers are golden for your professional growth. So don’t be afraid of volunteering for new challenges at work when you feel ready. Seek every new exposure as a learning opportunity. Don’t merely complete what you are told; think deeper and always focus on improving the quality. Childlike curiosity is your best friend. Moreover, Learning and growth never end in your life. So continue to invest yourself in learning, be it online courses, conferences, seminars or networking sessions with industry professionals so you can find mentors who could speed up your growth potential.
And if you would love more inspirations, check out these 5 Greatest TED Talks for Graduates. And what Bill Gates wants to tell you. 
 

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