I love listening to commencement speeches from keynote speakers. They’re full of inspiration, examples of courage, failures and successes, dedication and some very wise advice. The intriguing thing is that sometimes I wonder how these new graduates would really apply the motivational orders. Really, how many people do feel challenged in their work every day? How many employees are truly committed to their company and would do anything for the success of it? Just recently, a Gallup poll found that 70 percent of employees are disengaged. That is a huge portion of the workforce that is not into their work. My experience has been that most people would only be excited about a new job for a honeymoon phase that may last a year. So, if we are boosting the morale of all these millennials who are graduating and entering the workforce, how do we maintain the zeal after all the hype is gone?
You may be in the same situation, just graduating from college and getting congratulations from everyone. That is so exciting. What happens next?
The transition into the workforce after so many years of schooling and being guided all the way through can be challenging for some, especially in the management of finances. But it’s not just finances and budget. Going from a college student living on campus or at home to now making your money, paying your own bills, saving, starting a family, planning trips, planning for retirement takes more than just a financial savvy person. You must be well rounded overall in most areas of your life.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind now that you have graduated.
Recognize your accomplishment
Everyone is going to be congratulating you on this milestone. You stuck with it when others quit and you finished the race. That is an accomplishment. When I graduated with my bachelor degree, it was well past a 4 year period. Because I did not take loans and had to pay for it myself, it took longer than the average length of the degree completion. I was already working and essentially a professional. Because I was already in the workforce, it didn’t seem like an important mark until so many people reminded me of its significance. So, you may be a go-getter and your graduation is just a passing point for you. Still, pause and enjoy the moment. Relax and breathe.
Look for professional advice
What questions should you ask during the interview? Which format should your resume be in? Have you been copying and pasting your cover letter for every application? How do you position yourself on social media to maximize your chances of landing a job interview? Those are some of the questions you may be asking yourself. In this period of transition, it is crucial to get the right advice from people who have the fruit on the tree or who are experts.
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Charge from the start – realize that there is no longer a summer break
Last year, when school was over, you had two months to relax and do no homework. Yes, you probably worked a job but at least you didn’t have deadlines. Well, that’s now over. A lot of college graduates (undergrad and even graduate degrees) seem to take some time to adjust to the new lifestyle. This can hurt you both professionally and financially. Don’t delay. Yes, you’ve worked hard but now it’s time to apply some intensity to your job search or first job. You will not have to do it forever but this period is crucial. Go hard and make an exceptional reputation of yourself from the get-go.
Set up your budget – be cautious with your $
You may have been on mom and dad’s dime until now. Hopefully, that will no longer be the case. Today, 32% of 18 to 34 year-olds live at home. 34! Ok, maybe you’re struggling to land a job post graduation but I hope your goal is not be part of that 32%. Sometimes, doing what’s uncomfortable is necessary. You may have to take a lower paying job at first so that you establish your independence.
Whether you’re living at home or on your own, you must immediately establish good habits with your finances. Some very bad decisions in your twenties could hunt you for the rest your life. The simplest way to get control over your money is by creating a budget. Really, there is no other way. Plus, by staying loyal to your plan, you would benefit from an overall improved quality of life.
Don’t be afraid to take risks
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Goethe
“What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it is another matter.” — Peter Drucker
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.” — Tom Peters
Do these quotes resonate with you? What do you have to lose? In your early career, take the risks. Go live on the edge. So, you have a degree in math. Who said you wouldn’t be a success in the tech world? I recommend your broaden your vision and take large steps of faith. That also applies to the salary that you accept. You will be going through several job interviews. Once an offer is made to you, don’t simply take it. See how far you could push the envelope, within reason of course.
I encourage you to take risks. However, be cautious, responsible and reasonable in your decisions.
You’ve done it! You graduated. Now it’s time to execute. Good luck!
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