Thoughts of a Fresh Graduate Student
It is very normal for fresh grad students to expect a lot from the corporate world. We’ve been trained and we’ve been taught that the image of the real world is like getting an early morning coffee, going straight to work with #ootd, settling on your perfectly organized, perfectly well lit and air-conditioned office, chatting with your office mates with their 3 inch stilettos on, meeting with the bosses, preparing for your presentation, catching a cab after your shift ends or maybe simply living like a New York style employee.
Well, that may apply to New York but not here in the Philippines. This is one of the most traditional countries where everything seems to be irrational. Yes. Irrational. Traffic is irrational. Public transportation is irrational. Tax is irrational. Some people are irrational, basically almost everything is irrational. We live in a country where most people see the corporate world as waking up at 4:30am, in the morning, leaving the house before 6 to beat the traffic, hustling to ride the jeepney, busses or even lining up over the unjustified MRT or UV shuttles and arriving at work before 8, urging yourself to survive another day, waiting for your shift to end as you battle with the evening traffic once again and finally finding comfort on your own bed at 9 in the evening, dreading for a long night rest. Not most Filipinos have their own cars. Some are quite blessed to rely on their #thankyoudaddyformynewcar or #bestparentsever or #gradgift but for the most of us who depends on the #someday, we still have a long way to go and most fresh graduates are quite traumatized with the fact that this is only one of the many things they have to deal with their everyday life when they enter the corporate world. I repeat, this may seem a lot but this is only one of the many things people have to deal with.
Here comes another reality. When you start your first week on your first company. Not all employees are friendly, believe me because I’ve had already two companies to worked for. You might find yourself in a midst of a crowd where everyone has already their own group or they have their own business to attend to and no one bothers to acknowledge you or express concern to the newbie. This is reality. You might have to survive on your own. Some may look like bitches, some may be very accommodating, others…well… it would depends on how you perceive their attitudes but here are some of the survival tips I can give to survive your first week.
- Be all smiles. Your new, you have to make an impression and you don’t want to be labelled as the mataray na newbie or snob so take it from me, always smile.
- Greet everyone you meet. This works a lot. Whether it’s the security guard or the service personnel, greet everyone! Good morning ma’am, good afternoon sir and of course don’t forget the smile. This will surely make a good impression.
- Be patient. You’re new. You can’t possibly expect your manager to load you with work. You have to take things slow and learn the process so just seat down, relax, observe as much as you can and be patient. Read emails, read books. This helps.
- It’s never wrong to ask. I know some of us are afraid to ask, fearing that they might think we’re stupid to ask absurd questions but that’s not really the case. We’re new, we don’t know how things work and we’re still on the learning process so don’t be ashamed to ask questions. But always think about your question first before firing them away. You might ask something that’s already obvious. As much as possible, we want to look smart.
- It’s okay to be afraid. Yes, this is a new world, new people and it’s okay to be afraid. We might be afraid of our first day, or who’s going to join me for lunch, or am I going to get along with the people? There are so many what ifs and question on our mind and it’s okay. You just have to take time to adjust and don’t worry, everything will fall in to place once you settled in.
The corporate world is a jungle and it’s a small jungle. You’ll meet people you’ve met before; you’ll work with previous classmates, or a friend of your friend or even a far relative. Don’t expect a lot, learn to adjust. Some companies may take time to provide your own computers, or even your own tables. Expect that but don’t get tired easily. Everything is not always what it seems and don’t ever ever assume you’re better than everyone else whether it’s with grades or school. This will create an egoistic image of you. Be humble. Humility comes a long way.
Dealing with your boss is another thing. Some boss may be very intimidating, some don’t really care much about their employees and there are others who are really nice. I’m lucky to have such nice bosses. Your boss will be your second mother or father when it comes to workplace so do your best to establish a harmonious relationship with them. But if it’s difficult, just be yourself and work hard and enjoy because at the end of the day, (if your boss is really a pain in the neck) you don’t really work for your boss, you work for the company and you always have to take note of your personal satisfaction.
Entering the corporate world if your journey alone you have to take. You’ll no longer have your parents or friends at your side but you’ll establish new ones along the way. Work your way up and always pray. If you’re an extrovert and communicating with new people is a skill, share it and remember, in a sea of people, there will always be that one person who needs someone like you. Approach them. And for those experiencing the newbie syndrome, everything will fall eventually into place. Good Luck!