Transitioning From School to the Workforce

Congratulations! You achieved your educational goal and now are a true working professional. Getting your first job is an exciting time of your life that should be celebrated, it may finally feel like you are now in the ‘real world’. Like any big life transition, there can be some struggles and challenges that you may have not have been prepared for, and were probably not taught in school.

One aspect of transitioning into your new career is understanding that you are now part of a team. If you do not complete your work, then it impacts various other people at your job, whereas in school, if you didn’t complete an assignment, you were probably the only one who had to deal with the impact. The good news is that you will be able to grow your social circle as you get to know your colleagues and this can be helpful when transitioning from the mentality of working towards your individual studies to working for the benefit of a larger company or organisation.

Your schedule will become very different once you enter the workforce. You are now forced to fit your time off during allocated weekend or holiday time. There is no summer or holiday breaks provided in many jobs. This may lead to limiting your time spent with friends and family. You will have to get creative when it comes to scheduling appointments like stepping out during a lunch break. Getting into the routine of waking up early can be helpful when trying to find time for self-care, like going to the gym or getting a daily run into your schedule. Try not to view your new job as restricting your free time, but view it as an opportunity to start new habits and get creative with your schedule.

Is this the right job for me?
Insecurities about whether or not a company or position is a good fit is common during this transition into your professional career. This is particularly common if you find a position that is not directly related to the topic of your studies. You may be dealing with pressure from family and friends to ‘use your degree’ or to find the right position.  It can be helpful to remind yourself that for most working professionals, they do not land their ‘dream job’ right out of their schooling. Remind yourself of the valuable experiences you are gaining in your current position, even if it is not directly related to your career goals. It is helpful to notice aspects you like about the company, such as how they treat their employees, or how your supervisors work in a team. These observations are all important aspects of learning what you want out of a career and what you do not want in your career. You want to be a supervisor someday? Learn from supervisors around you that as an employee, you think do their job well. Although you are no longer in your studies, you can continue your learning as you enter the work force.

Embrace this season of your life. Transitioning from studies to full time employment can be an exciting and nervous time. If you have the opportunity to start working part time during your studies, it can ease the transition from schooling to full time employment but for many students this is not possible. If you need guidance on the direction of your career, especially during this important season of your life, speaking with a professional can be helpful. You may be facing pressures from work, your parents, your partner, your friends and having an unbiased professional to listen can help significantly. To book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.

Related reading:

Psychological Flexibility
Why Resilience?

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