Congratulations! You have finally graduated. You are ready to take on the world. If you choose to start your career immediately after graduating, as 21% of college graduates did last year, you may find that working life is starkly different from life as a full-time student. It might be nerve-wracking at first, but once adjusted, you will find that starting your career after graduation comes with a unique sense of independence and capability that will surely usher in the next chapter of your life gracefully.
We sat down with members of the Laserfiche team that joined us after their college graduation to pursue their careers. Here are some of their favorite things about working full-time when compared to going to class and taking exams.
There is No Syllabus – Be Ready for Anything!
For the most part, college courses lack spontaneity. A syllabus precisely lays out expectations and deadlines that students discuss with professors during the first week of class, and professors notify students of any deviation from the syllabus over the course of the term in a timely manner. A full-time job usually entails a specific set of duties and training to be able to complete them, but it is likely that the need of the department and your manager’s expectations may change in a moment’s notice. It is up to you, a great employee, to be prepared to take on new responsibilities. Grant, a Software Engineer at Laserfiche, started his career after graduating from University of California, Irvine in 2014. He quickly learned the importance of adapting in order to embrace more responsibility and improve himself:
“Be ready for anything. I was working here for less than a year when I started conducting technical interviews. I was not expecting that at all. After about a year, I was the lead for the front-end of a project. People rely on me to make decisions and give feedback, and I never would have expected that after only about 2 years of real world experience.”
This expected flexibility does not only benefit your team, but you then have the freedom to grow professionally. If you see an opportunity outside of your daily responsibilities to improve your professional acumen, talk to your team lead about the possibility of adding more to your workload. Everyone wins!
Work/Life Balance – Become a Lifelong Learner!
In college, daily life revolves around schoolwork. When not in class, students are expected to complete all of their work on their own time, and time spent having fun has to be carefully regimented to ensure that they complete assignments, write papers and study for exams in a timely manner. At Laserfiche, we are expected to work hard and produce quality work while we are at the office, but at the end of the day and on weekends, our time is ours. Alicen, a Project Coordinator on our sales team, feels that she can pursue more of her personal interests and passions because her time dedicated to work is so regimented during business hours. She volunteers at local organizations to boost her skills that she does not routinely utilize at work:
“Many volunteer organizations are looking for labor, and in return you’ll get a chance to develop your skills in marketing, coding, working with people, et cetera. Some may even give you an official position title for your LinkedIn profile!”
Work/life balance also allows room to pursue further education. For the bulk of us who cannot yet cover the cost of another few years of tuition while also paying rent and other “real-world” expenses, Alicen says there are other options:
“Don’t stop learning just because you are out of college. There are a lot of places where you can find an education that won’t require thousands of dollars a year. Community colleges, community centers, online courses, galleries and co-working spaces are among some options, but there are surely more!”
The “real world,” while vastly different from life as a student, provides opportunities to embrace new challenges. Graduation is a milestone, but it is only the beginning of what will surely be an adventure full of experiences and newfound passions you never knew existed. As our team has reflected here, starting your career after graduation is not all stress that comes with change. It comes with countless opportunities to grow, both professionally and personally. The next chapter of your life begins now. Embrace it. You will be great!
 Dickler, Jessica. “New College Grads Will Prosper from the Best Job Market in Years, Survey Finds.” CNBC. CNBC, 01 June 2016. Web. 15 May 2017.