It’s a new year and a whole set of interstate graduates would have descended on Sydney to start full time work. In fact, I myself, moved to Sydney in February 2008 as a fresh new graduate starting full time work and living away from home for the first time. It was a tough year but it was filled with lots of fun, new friends and many life experiences and lessons. Over the last 7 years, I have been lucky enough to also live and work abroad and gain a whole new set of life experiences. So here are 5 of my tips for those new grads (interstate and local), tips that I wish I knew when I first started working!
1. It’s all about balance. I worked in a busy job in HK where I would work late and eat dinner at my desk. It was depressing and miserable and didn’t suit me at all. The most important things suddenly became my family, friends and leisure time. Work is still a big part of my life, but it’s not everything and it never should be. This quote sums this up perfectly:
“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity…. You finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls…are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.” James Patterson
2. Don’t get too focussed on finding a job that fulfils your passion. These days I hear so many people talking about finding that one job that makes it thrilling to wake up in the morning and gives so much happiness and excitement. You may not find that job at first because you might not really know who you are or what you are good at until you have worked for a few years (like me!). You may never find a job that fulfils you completely but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You may have hobbies and interests outside of work that you are passionate about instead. For me, it’s about being happy overall in both work and life. I have a job that fulfils some of my passions, and hobbies that make up the rest.
3. You don’t have to get it right the first time, but eventually you will have to make a decision and get it right. I have a few friends who have moved from numbers roles to creative roles and others who are looking to move the other way. It’s so hard to know what you are good at when you first graduate, so figuring out what you like is important. But once you have, it’s also important to find something and stick to it. If you keep changing paths, you have to start from the bottom again which generally means taking a pay cut, having less responsibility and spending a lot of energy and time relearning the ropes. A change can be exciting at first, but I believe stability is more important. And a CV with a stable job record also looks much better than the CV with multiple jobs over a short period of time.
4. Talk to people in other departments or companies and find out about their roles. Even if you are enjoying your role and division, it doesn’t hurt to branch out and find out about the bigger picture and what other people do. That way you can have more of an idea of where you fit in and where you see yourself going.
5. Don’t worry too much about studying again until you have completed your first year as a graduate (although this depends on your industry and doesn’t apply to accounting, for example, where you have to study more). But if you have a choice, the reality is that you may not enjoy your first job and want to change your career path instead of investing time, money and energy into studying again. Or you may decide that you love what you do and want to enhance your career with further schooling. Or, you may want to take a bit of time to travel and experience a new culture or lifestyle, which, in my opinion, is getting a degree in life!
If you are starting out in the workforce, make sure you try The Ladders , which is a global boutique job search website catering to professionals in almost any field.
Gorgeous picture via Pinterest.