“What comes after graduation?” That perhaps is a question of every engineering graduate who was caught off guard with the result of accomplishing the hard-earned degree, that he or she already forgot what to do with it. The answer to that question varies from person to person depending on the previously set goals or the conditions upon graduating. Some may opt to work ahead of the others because they need to do so; some may take a vacation because they have the luxury to do such. It actually is more personal, but there will be things in common to each when they step into employment: the necessary adjustments on your first job that you need to prepare for, which are most likely not taught during college.
Your time after you graduated already has more value – at least to employers – as compared to when you were in college. You are being paid for what you know as an engineer. This is why managers and employers need to find that dedication from you or else they will find other candidates who have that. Some require extra-work without the compensation, and it will be a downside for you. But this is entirely time management. When you know how to balance your time with work and life, you will not have a problem being overworked. It will take time to adjust though, because college was filled with free time. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case anymore, as it’s time to be a full-time adult and devise ways to manage your time.
Read Play time is over. In college where you can be a little crazy or irresponsible, you were excused because ‘it’s part of growing up.’ But graduating also means that you should be done with that phase. If you retain that attitude in the professional world of engineering, the odds are you will jump companies for always getting fired. No “professional” ever gets to work groggy and high. It’s time to straighten up and get your shit right.
College deadlines are way different with work deadlines. When you do not get to deliver in college before a deadline, you will just get a failing grade. But if you do not commit to a work deadline, you might get someone killed depending on how critical it is what you do as an engineer. Urgency is essential in the engineering workplace and you need to adapt. The pace of the world is faster than you think when you step out of college.
Perhaps there was already a training in college about teamwork where you get to work with people of varying personalities and backgrounds. It will be the same at work – except it will be more furious. You can’t expect others to be as kind as you think; you can’t expect that everyone in the workplace has the same level of competence as you are. You will have to communicate effectively and know your way around people who are hard to deal with.
On your first job, you might be working with someone who has the age of your grandfather. That’s possible. As the newbie, you have to share an excellent rapport with them regardless of their age. While at times you will feel to be in the minority because you are young, take it to your advantage by sharing something from your perspective.
With a commitment to work, you will experience different levels of stress every single day. The best way to manage that stress is to find the source and kill it before it spreads in your mind. If you can’t find it, find a way to at least alleviate it so it will not affect the way you work – maybe an ice cream cone for a band aid solution just to ease the problem.
Dealing with a Difficult Boss
This maybe the scariest of them all as an engineering newbie: facing a difficult boss. It can be very intimidating but at least work your way with him or her. Understand that the boss also has deadlines to meet and goals to achieve, so he’s squeezing all the resources he can to do that. You are part of that ‘squeezing.’ But of course there may be cases that there’s a certain kind of bias against you from your boss. Take time to reassess your position in the company and maybe move on and find a new job. All these are waiting for you if you are still looking forward to your first job. Take the time to mentally prepare yourself with what’s ahead to stay away from problems that will hinder you to your dream job of becoming the great engineer you will be.