Here’s How You Face the Real World Right After College

Last updated Sep 30, 2022

If you are to make a keyword cloud for everything people tell you after graduating from college, this would probably be the biggest key phrase you get: “Welcome to the real world!” 

Alongside other cliches like “Follow your passion,” “Give your 110%,” and “Be true to yourself”, of course.

But if they’re not just the right fit for you, then we’ve got some fresh takes on how to get a head start on your career. These are some of the popular insights from the world’s most successful individuals.

1. Get a job, any job

For SoulCycle CEO, Melanie Whelan, new graduates should forget about doing what they think they should be doing or what is expected of them and just get to work.

In an interview with The New York Times with Adam Bryant, Whelan said that new graduates to just need to get a job and start working.

“You are going to learn a ton in whatever that job is, so don’t stress too much about what it is or where it is. Just take a job and put your head down, work hard, raise your hand for anything anybody asks you to do,” she added.

It is vital that young professionals live in the present and stop worrying too much about where they are headed and according to her, the key is to simply work hard and to learn as much as one could.

“A lot of people think in terms of ‘should’ — I ‘should’ be a banker, I ‘should’ go to law school, I ‘should’ pursue what I studied in school,” she said. And for her, this is a huge mistake.

2. Pick something, anything, and make it great

Marissa Mayer, the former President and CEO of tech giant, Yahoo, shared one of the best pieces of advice she ever received during an interview with the Social Times.

My friend Andre said to me, ‘You know, Marissa, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to pick the right choice, and I’ve gotta be honest: That’s not what I see here. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great.’ I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.”

3. You will receive plenty of criticisms; ignore just the unhelpful ones.

Motivational speaker, author, and CNBC host Suze Orman shared in a LinkedIn article her take on what career success looks like.

According to Orman, when other people started seeing that she was getting more and more successful, she has essentially become a target of criticism. Some were much-needed ones, but plenty of them was “entirely disconnected from facts”.

Admittedly, Orman felt furious with these disconnected criticisms at first but eventually learned to ignore those that do not matter at all.

She wrote:

“A wise teacher from India shared this insight: The elephant keeps walking as the dogs keep barking. The sad fact is that we all have to navigate our way around the dogs in our career: external critics, competitors, horrible bosses, or colleagues who undermine. Based on my experience, I would advise you to prepare for the yapping to increase along with your success.”

4. Always ask yourself this one question

Dr. Phil McGraw, the popular author, psychologist, television personality, and host of the popular television show “Dr. Phil” says that before you submit your work, ask yourself if it would be okay that you be judged solely based on that one particular work you are about to submit.

In an interview with Business Insider, Dr. Phil shared that he learned this lesson from his son during the second season of his show. He was having a hard time deciding if he should cover a particular topic for an episode and he consulted his son about it to what his son answered with:

“You have to ask yourself this question: ‘If someone is only ever going to see one Dr. Phil episode in their life, would you be OK with it being this one?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ don’t do it.’”

“It stuck,” McGraw said. From that moment on, he keeps his son’s advice in mind throughout his work, whether it’s a book he’s writing, an answer he gives in an interview, or an episode he does.

5. Be patient. Be kinder to yourself

As a new graduate, you are probably idealistic – typical of most college graduates. Perhaps, you want to make a change or create an impact. Sadly, you will realize soon enough that impact does not take place when we want it to and the sooner you realize this, the kinder you will be towards yourself.

Simon Sinek, a thought leader in leadership and a popular resource speaker, aptly captures this newbie mistake in this video:

Final Thoughts

The five tips above provide sound advice for how to navigate your career after college. It can be difficult to make the jump from student to working professional, but with these tips in mind, you are sure to make a smooth transition. Be patient with yourself, be open to new opportunities, and stay focused on what you want to achieve. With these tools, you can make the most of your career and reach your goals.

By: Curran Daly + Associates


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