Reflecting On 2018: 10 Insights into Full-Time Work from an Ontario Recent Grad & Tips for Companies Hiring

As of January 2018, I had never spent 40 hours per week in one location ever. I thought it was going to be hard to show up at the same place day after day and be useful in one role. That’s because like many of new graduates I had always considered myself a student first, working for grades and only the occasional part time job. I looked at full-time work as unsatisfying, unmotivating, and just a means to and end. Safe to say some of my pre-employment opinions have changed.

Full-time hours are not like school. Rather than having a scheduled timetable you do day-to-day tasks that help push the department or company objectives. Depending on the size of the organization you may feel like your role is of great importance or that you are just a number.  A large responsibility of every organization is to create an environment for their staff that encourages a sense of belonging – especially now, in 2019 and certainly for the future. Times are changing, employers must adapt to what the new generation is demanding otherwise they’ll miss out on the best talent.

Obviously, responsibilities are different across every role, industry, company, department, etc. but unlike school you are expected to do your best every time. At work you cannot justify cutting corners simply because something is only worth 2% of a final grade. Every task will reflect on your abilities, knowledge of the work, drive, and over time the success in your career. Nothing goes unnoticed in the work world, and someone is always watching.  

Career – a word that could have so many meanings. Have you thought about your career? Is a career different than a job? How does education factor into your desired career and does it really matter? I’m not here to answer these questions today but here’s a summary of some insights based on my first year working full-time

10. Your time is not yours

Even though you think that you’ll only be there for 8-9 hours and there’s plenty of time left in the day, your “personal time” is limited. Preparing for work, getting adequate sleep, meal prepping, and commuting take time away from your day

9. What do I really know about my co-workers?

The office is a mixed bag of people – depending on where you work you may end up meeting individuals whom you’d never think to even talk to before.  It’s not like class where you’ll be placed with new peers next semester. Take the time and be friendly to everyone and you’ll be surprised who you meet.

8. Online frenemies

Corporate email writing style is a learning curve – experience may vary but always double check what you’re sending, the relevance to the subject matter, and who it’s going to before you press send. Make sure your correct attachments are loaded and try not to send an email in haste or anger. After a relationship is weakened it gets harder and harder to re-build. You’ll end up avoiding them altogether (like i sometimes do now).

7. “Don’t you get tired of eating the same thing?”

Meal Prepping is a way of life – to stay organized I’ve found than meal prepping every Sunday works for me. I rarely buy lunches and have started to enjoy creating various meals that are enjoyable and healthy. If you tend to get bored of the same meal, cook in smaller portions and create 2 or 3 different variations. Meal prep blog post coming 2019.

6. Connection takes effort

Get to know management – It may seem intimidating at first, but they want you to succeed. Spend some time taking to the leaders in your department, office, and your direct supervisors. If you can relate on a personal level, the work part may not seem so disconnecting. Stand out if there is an opportunity to, they will remember you if you try.

5. Look alive it’s the 9-5

They day is long – 40 Hours is a lot especially when you don’t have a lot of work or just finished a project. Staring at the clock will drain you. So, if you can and time will allow it, complete your tasks at a reasonable speed. Unless otherwise stated, nothing is always urgent, and excellence takes time.

4. “Have you heard?”

Office gossip and politics are real – You’ve seen it portrayed on TV and in movies but if you listen closely and connect with others in the office there are many versions of reality at play, even at work. Try not to feed into it or get caught spreading it – maintain a positive character in the workplace is important because, I repeat, someone is always watching.

3. This hurts in a motivating type of way

You may get spoken to in a way that you’re not 100% comfortable with – Everyone makes mistakes and that’s expected especially as new graduates. Bosses know it’s your first full-time position and that you’re bound to have some error while you’re learning. Never take disrespect but one thing to remind yourself is that you are these to show how you succeed. If something makes you feel bummed out for a couple of hours, just bounce it off your back, treat is as an opportunity to show more success now, and promise yourself to do better next time.

2. Demonstrate Attention to Detail

A common theme in all my posts is maintaining strong focus on your goals this requires attention to details. Your bosses are not always right – At times you may wonder how they even got their jobs. Everyone makes mistakes and that includes supervisors too. Don’t be afraid to help them realize their errors and use it as an opportunity to show your purpose and understanding. If it goes unnoticed it may lead to a bigger mistake down the line and you just saved them. Your only loyalty is to yourself.

1. Evaluate on your own scale

Look ahead and think about what’s on the horizon – This is something that we are fortunate to have coming out of school. Evaluations are present in our lives and we use them to navigate our personal guides.

Students are thinking about planning for the next semester, or the following year. Many full-time workers do not because they leave evaluations up to our employers and get comfortable in where they are and stop looking ahead find themselves stuck in the same place for years. Always search for the next opportunity or role you want and put active steps in place to achieve it.

Provide constructive feedback on your own valued criteria. A new Ubran Guide on creating your own person and professional goals analysis chart coming soon.

Thanks for reading this Urban Guide