Majority of Nigerian graduates desire to get a job immediately after school, even before going for youth service. This is the norm as only a few consider venturing into business and becoming self-employed. While in school, most students nurture these dreams so hard to the extent that the only thing they think about is graduating with a first-class and work life afterward.
Once in a while, certain ideas about how this whole thing will play out flashes through their minds and the picture looks so perfect that they fail to realize that exams, homework, and research papers do not necessarily match up with work experience in reality.
Life will indeed change in a big way once a graduate makes the transition from the classroom to the cubicle. But often, new graduates have misconceptions about the exact way things will turn out – who said looking for a job or getting one is an easy task? Well, hope you are not one of those graduates who think like this:
1. I Have Great Grades so I Won’t Have a Problem Getting a Job
With so many experienced professionals looking for the same jobs as you, your GPA is only one factor employers will be looking for when considering you for a position. Having good grades is good, but backing it up with several skills and other certifications is better. Although you may not have much full-time work experience as a new graduate, make sure your resume shows you have taken part in activities that demonstrate your strength in teamwork, project planning, and time management. These qualities will serve you well in your first job more than your first class will.
2. As a Graduate, I am Financially Secured
Most graduates who were financially handicapped during their university days usually heave a sigh of relief once they graduate, hoping they have been redeemed. Being a graduate does not in any way guarantee a paycheck and more so a consistent one at that. If you do not linger in the labor market like other graduates do, then count yourself lucky. While this stability may afford you a few luxuries that were out of reach during the college years, proper budgeting and money management are necessary to set you up for a secure financial future. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, but do this only after bills and debt payments are taken care of each month.
3. My Co-workers Will be Excited to Have Me on the Team
Fresh graduates are usually energetic and enthusiastic because they are still very new to the whole workforce routine. They also assume that other workers in the same firm as they are think the same way. While your coworkers may welcome you with open arms, remember that you are entering a different realm of your life and you may not be the center of attraction like you were back then in school. As you seek to add value and learn more about your role, be mindful of the norms already at play in your workplace. Learn who your advocates are. Learn which individuals to be friends with and which to avoid because just like in school, you would have both fans and haters in your workplace.
4. I’ve Got a Degree So I am Done with the Classroom
Learning is a continuous process and the day you stop learning is the day your brain stops functioning. Today, continuing education and lifelong learning are the keys to success in the workplace. You may be done with your full-time studies, but there will certainly be many opportunities for you to return to the classroom during your working years. Not to forget your Place of Primary Assignment while serving the country, aside from doctors, nurses and lawyers, there is no guarantee that you will not be posted to a school. So even if you are not learning, you will be teaching in a classroom – get a hold of yourself and ego about being done with the classroom.
5. If I Work Hard I will Advance Quickly
At the university, hard work is gratified with good grades, but in the workforce, it doesn’t always work out that way. You might be very good at your job, but will be receiving the same salary for 10 years until you are remembered for promotion. How do you explain that compared to your experience in school where you are promoted to the next class and graded ‘A’ for doing so well? That is life after school for you. In the workforce, feedback is not always so swift. Sometimes, you will work on projects that you feel demonstrate the best work you are capable of only to receive little if any accolades from your boss.
There will be moments where you are expected to go above and beyond on a project, only to do it again next week with seemingly little reward. When you work as part of a team, you will be expected to bring your best each week, not because there’s a reward in it for you, but because that’s everyone’s job.
Consistency is rewarded in the workplace so to be successful you should do your best even if it seems like no one is watching and you are not celebrated – that is the real life your lecturer never thought you about.