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Excerpt from an interview with B (age 25) on her 34th day of work in a new position…
What have been the biggest obstacles to effectively transitioning into your new role?
Easy answer: it’s hard to know where to put my energy. There are a lot of places where my value can be added, but where do I start?
What has the transition from student to professional been like?
Deliverables are NOT clear. Student expectations are always written right on a syllabus and the dates are provided. This is NOT the case in the workplace. Goals change, needs change directions, and priorities are consistently being shuffled. It’s definitely nothing like the student experience. I have found that building relationships is key in the workplace. The relationships you build help bring awareness to different situations that connect projects and work.
I actually experienced a mini meltdown with my project team regarding deliverables. I spoke with 2 other people in the room about quicker delivery and expressed my concerns of getting something completed. They told me I was overreacting, which I realized I was!! I’m anxious to have an impact. Deliverables are more common in student commitments but I have found that the workplace doesn’t have immediate deliverables, especially in a new role. There’s a lot of gathering of information, facts, and opinions (creating buy-in) before a project is completed.
What has been your biggest learning?
I’m going to go with the biggest surprise so far instead. I am surprised by the amount of chit-chatter there is in the workplace, especially Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
If you could give one piece of advice to students as they near the start of their new positions what would it be?
Be ready to take good notes. Have a strategy for good note-taking in the workplace, which is different than classroom note-taking. You don’t only have to gather the facts in the workplace, but also the opinions attitudes and write who said what and when. Constant documentation is KEY.
-B is a Learning and Development Professional at one of Fortune Magazine’s top Best Companies, 2013.