Growth and progression are things we all strive for. We love achieving more, growing in ourselves and our accomplishments and looking ahead to take new steps and experience new things in life.
However, any type of growth or progression is inherently daunting.
A period of growth we all experience is entering the world of work and leaving behind college or university. The transition from education to the working world can be an intimidating experience. It is the end of an era. An era in which there was structure and systems in place that in a way dictated your everyday. Upon leaving these systems, you are thrust into uncertainty. In which you can no longer rely on a structure or routine already in place. With the next ‘natural’ step being to join the world of work and get a ‘grown-up’ job, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unsettled.
This growth and change can be exhilarating. However, it is natural to feel confused and intimidated as you take the next steps in life, especially if you are hounded with questions about your plans and employment goals.
Be it travelling, volunteering, taking a complete break or beginning your career you might feel vulnerable and uneasy with what is to come. However, it does not have to be like this. There is so much joy that can come from endings and beginnings. We urge you to not let the uncertainties and difficulties of the everyday overwhelm you and cloud your judgement of what you do next.
Whatever you choose to do after ending your education or training, we want to offer our best tips for entering the employment sector.
Celebrate Your Achievements
Before you look ahead to the future and take your next steps, we urge you to first take the time to celebrate your recent achievements. Graduating, leaving college or completing a training program is a huge achievement and should be celebrated.
It is almost as if our experiences and achievements are no longer seen as such but as stepping stones taken to then just achieve more. We should take the time to celebrate and commemorate what we have done before moving on to the next steps.
It is important to take time to celebrate your achievements and not rush into a job just because of pressure from others.
Take a Break
We are sure you will probably receive a plethora of questions from friends, family and more, asking what your next steps are and what you plan to do. We know how frustrating it can be to be on the receiving end of these questions. To make life easier, you can say you are prioritising yourself or doing what makes you happy.
After what feels like a lifetime of learning, it might be beneficial to take a break without diving into employment or at least ‘serious’ employment.
The strain years of learning exams and assessments can take is often overlooked. Prolonged time spent in education and similar structures can be overwhelming, and its completion can leave you exhausted. Taking a break will benefit your health and well-being and encourage you to prioritise yourself, an act that you can transfer into different parts of your life.
In taking a break, there are different things you can do to take advantage of this time and truly live your best life before taking your next steps into ‘adulthood’. Take some time to travel or volunteer.
Whatever you choose to do in your break, we urge you to spend this time doing what you want and what serves you. Prioritise your joy and peace and actively choose yourself. This is a time you might not ever get to experience again, and we encourage you to enjoy it.
Your Opinion Matters Most
It is very easy to get wrapped up in the thoughts, beliefs and opinions of others.
You might find yourself seeking validation from those around you when it comes to your next steps, be it job-hunting, training opportunities or more. However, it is important to choose a life that you want, not what your parents or friends think is appropriate or a good choice.
Don’t let external noise drown out your voice.
A part of this is taking the time to explore different opportunities and find your footing. Don’t be afraid to take on new experiences, try something you never thought you would or explore exciting opportunities and life paths. New or daunting opportunities can provide valuable experience and help you build a strong foundation for your future in deciding what you want for yourself, be it in your career, your personal life or even where you live.
Build a Healthy Work-Life Balance from the Beginning
Whenever you choose to join the employment sector and pursue your career passions, we urge you to build a healthy work-life balance from the beginning. It is, unfortunately, very easy to get wrapped up and all consumed with your job and role. We cannot stress enough the importance of building balance from the beginning of your career and the moment you join the world of work.
Work only when you are contracted and importantly, paid to. Understand and internalise that your company will not fall apart if you take a moment to yourself or reply to an email the following day. As important as your career and professional pursuits are, they should not come before your health and well-being. Without a healthy work-life balance, you will find yourself overworked, overwhelmed and burnt out all before 30.
Prioritise your wellness and take breaks away from technology, go for walks and take holiday days and breaks to give yourself the time to rest and recuperate. Be proactive in choosing and taking care of yourself so that you are prepared to face whatever comes your way.
Do Not Take Professional Rejection Personally
When entering the employment sector, the first and most important skill you should learn is to not take professional rejection personally. The sector is inherently cold and for the most part, unprincipled. Any poor professional experiences are not a reflection of you as a person or your skills, capability or character.
Entering early adulthood can be tough. There are so many possibilities and opportunities and yet simultaneously so many uncertainties to grapple with. There will be many circumstances that can render you feeling helpless and lost. You must remain positive, choosing yourself, your peace and your opinions over and over again.
Entering the ‘real world’ as an adult is a journey, not a destination. Stay open-minded, curious and confident. Do not be afraid to pivot if needed. You’ve got this!