From Backpacks to Briefcases: Managing the College-to-Work Transition

This is a guest post by our friends at Kuder.

Several factors go into determining whether or not the college-to-work transition is a smooth one. Not only is there a complete lifestyle shift, but you’ve got to question your ability to compete in the workplace. Dealing with co-workers, waking up before sunrise, managing tight deadlines, and working overtime to prove yourself to your boss are just a few of the pressures you’re going to experience at your first job.

The sooner you learn the facts, the less likely you are to feel overwhelmed when you enter the workforce. There is one strategy in particular, however, that is the crown jewel of all the advice we’re about to give. We’ll save this for last.

Here are the facts:

  1. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
    Getting yourself on a budget is the most responsible thing you can do for your future. If you want to be able to get rid of your credit card debt, manage living expenses, and be able to pay off your student loans, you should start saving NOW! You’ll learn soon enough that money doesn’t grow on trees.
  2. No alarm clock sound sounds good at 6 a.m.
    You can experiment with all sorts of un-startling sounds to help you wake up in the morning, but forewarning: you will soon begin to dread the sound. So we suggest not selecting your favorite song as your new wake up call.
  3. Your social life may just have to take a back seat to your career.
    Oops! Your friends called you at 10 p.m. to hang out, but you’ve got a 6 a.m. wake up call and an action-packed Friday filled with meetings and deadlines. Trust us, the responsibility monster will start to rear its ugly head.
  4. When the job description states 40 hours of work per week, you could put in up to 60 hours.
    You survived several rounds of interviews and beat out dozens of other candidates for the job, so now you need to prove that you’ve earned it. On average, recent college grads work up to 20 extra hours per week at their first post-graduation job.
  5. You’re not going to be the smartest crayon in the box.
    Nowadays, so many job responsibilities are taught with on-the-job training. Truth is, there are going to be instances where you don’t have the right answer or you need help completing a project, so remember to relax … this is normal and you will learn from it.
  6. Co-workers aren’t like classmates.
    In college, you got to choose who you talked to and who you hung with, but in the workplace, this isn’t necessarily the case. Your personality and work style isn’t going to align to everyone else’s, so just remember to be professional and set your personal feelings aside. At the end of the day, you’re there to complete tasks and help your company to reach its goals, so being a team player is a good motto to follow.
  7. Get ready to deal with stress.
    With new expectations and never-ending demands, your job will be stressful at times. There’s no better way to deal with stress than to exercise and eat healthy. This will give you an extra burst of energy at work, allow you to think more creatively, and help you keep it movin’ when times get tough.

And (drumroll please) … here’s the crown jewel for making sure you have a smooth transition into the workplace: make sure you’re not cramming for a career, nor settling for one either. The number one way to get you prepared to enter the workforce is to plan for it accordingly. Planning ahead alleviates last-minute stress and can even prevent you from settling for a job you’re not crazy about.

Give yourself the opportunity to love what you do and not think twice about your career choice. Often enough, college students settle for a career they think they should have rather than recognizing what their true calling is. That’s where Kuder, Inc. comes in. Many recent grads enter the workplace with little experience in their field and then are often startled when they find out that they don’t love their career after all. This is when your career turns into what we like to call, a “job.”

How do you know what you really want to do? Is it the same career as a parent or did you simply search for a career that generates a huge salary?  Kuder has the solution for individuals of all ages to help them see what they can be and meet their educational and career planning goals. It all starts with finding out what you like to do (interests), what your confident in doing (skills), and what’s most important to you in the workplace (work values). Essentially, users are able to access all the right tools and resources to discover their passions and get connected to a career they love.

Intrigued? Learn more.

Interested in having Kuder contribute to your publication or are you interested in contributing to the Kuder Blog? Email

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