10 Things Fresh Graduates Need to Know Before Starting a Job

Immad Khan Written by Immad Khan · 4 min read>
Fresh Graduates

As another year is about to come to a close, a new bunch of fresh graduates are going to enter the workforce. While they might be focusing on how to score a job and excel at interviews, but they should also have an idea of what await them once they get a job. There’s going to be plenty of new things they’ll be learning about the professional world out there, some might be pleasant (monetary benefits) and some of it less so.

Here is a list of 10 things fresh graduates hardly realize during their first break – but will be figuring out quite sooner, hopefully.

1. The Year long wait for a raise

What most fresh grads fail to realize is that the salary they negotiated at during the interview, is not only their starting salary but they would have to do with it for almost an year. Most fresh entrants believe they can negotiate a pay, say after three of six months, but call it a norm, such an attempt of negotiation doesn’t go well with employers, because the traditional belief is that you can’t ask for a raise until you have been on the job for at least a year.

2. There are no second chances

You’ll desperately miss school and university life once you are in to a work place. You’ll soon realize that if you hand in a report beyond the deadline, or make a mistake on a financial statement – even a digit placed wrongly would lend you into a boiling pot. In your universities, a mistake was a mistake and at large, impacted your grades. But at professional level, your mistake may impact your boss, your co-workers and your company as well. Other staff members might have to stay back and fix your created mess, leading to missing up their own deadlines and losing important business because of you. You may end up losing your job as well. “I was just assigned to check the year-end financial statements of my organization. Unintentionally, I made a small fix to a figure in the balance sheet. I was fired the next morning. I was working in a bank.”- A graduate of fall 2013

3. Numbers game

You may be smart, having a lot of potential in you and have a near 4 point cgpa. To an employer, its just a number. Credentials are no longer enough if you’re not able to achieve anything and show your potential in actual numerical (read business) terms. Lecturers and facilitators often overlook if a smart students lags behind once in the class. But as soon as you step in the working world, you quickly realize that careers are built out of actual hard work, you won’t just get anything if you just keep on boasting about being smart and missing out on deadlines or coming unprepared for meetings or missing out on targets.

4. Get over with the holidays

Some of the businesses now a days are not going to allow you a day off on Eid as well. Its not like university anymore, where you can have a 10 day off because its a festive season. Organizations running on Customer Service can’t afford a holiday. So it would be beneficial for you if you realize your fun-filled holidays are over with.

5. Journey from 2 months to 2 weeks

Most organizations only allow you to have a total of two weeks time-off from work. Some allow them in a single go, while some spread them over a year. But usually, two weeks time is the most you can take off at many work places now. Days of the lengthy vacations are now a thing of the past. In most organizations, there’s a limit places on off days beyond two weeks. And in many cases, if you take the two weeks off all at once, whether its an emergency or what ever the case maybe, you won’t be allowed to take any time off the rest of the year. But, all these vary according to workplaces; some are generous in giving days off while some are not.

6. Taking Initiatives

At the university level, you are made to do assignments and reports. When you step into the professional world, specially in this era, you are expected to identify ways and take an initiative to lead your respective department forward. If you are just going to sit around and wait for work to come your way, you won’t be able to get much done in terms of your progress. With that said, you need to analyze the situations where you can take an initiative and where you should just keep quite, as such a situation would never be spelled out to you explicitly. Tip: Just don’t get confused or stressed out, and listen to what’s happening around you with all your senses.

7. Meetings are not Hangouts

Hangouts with your friends at the university were always interesting. You always looked forward to a group study session. Corporate Meetings, in most cases, are not the same. No matter how boring the agenda of the meet is, you need to look super interested in what is happening in the the meetings. You might see some of your seniors “bunking” the meetings or playing candy crush on their smart phones- they have earned the right to do that. If you’re caught napping as a junior employee, it will reflect far worse on you than you think. You’ll be the talk of the work place. That’s something you don’t want! During a meeting, you are expected to look attentive and listen carefully, no matter how boring the content is.

8. Its all about Attitude

You are one of the best employees an organization can imagine having. Time management skills, technical skills, team player and even a good leader- you have it all in you. But with all this, you have a rotten attitude. I am sorry to say this, but you won’t find yourself advancing in your career – and might even end up losing your job. In most of the workplaces, where stress level is quite high, cheerful personalities are looked upon with great respect and motivation.

9. Books are no longer your best friends

If you think you’ll be using your books as a guide on your jobs, think again. Books were only there to help you attain a certain amount of knowledge about what has happened in the past. They are not going to tell you how to make a better future. You need to let go off the cramming up sessions and start working on your skills and abilities to realize your true potential. Or else, you won’t be able to understand what MARK-EATING is when you are asked to explain it in 4-5 lines.

10. No more beating around the bush

You might have filled up slides of a presentation with introduction to the organization and its history, but in the work place, these tactics won’t help you. You are really short on time. Your boss wants you to get to the point and get to it by the shortest possible route. You can’t beat around the bush. Most managers like to hear the root cause of the problem and what solution you have derived for it. You might, ONLY MIGHT, be asked the underlying details, but that’s a rarity. This is not only the case in face to face communications, but also in true for written communication. Gist of the problem with bullets and a simple solution is preferred over a multiple page report.

These are some of the unconventional and untold things you need to know before you embark upon the new journey. You must remember, it’s your journey and you are the one in charge of shifting the gears. Therefore, before accepting that golden lining offer, consider everything that is going to have an impact due to your job. You’ll be surprised at what conclusion you get to.

Written by Immad Khan
I am an aspiring techno-preneur, having passion for writing and Digital Media. I have Bachelors in Business Administration from Bahria University, Karachi and currently en route to completing my MBA from SZABIST, Karachi. Profile