Strict deadlines, appraisals, monthly targets, presentations…the corporate world is nothing like college. Noorain Mohammed Nadim finds out how you can slip into the professional role minus hassles or complications.

The importance of your first job can never be underestimated. Because, for starters, it is your first school of professionalism, where you learn the nuances of corporate etiquette and acceptable codes of conduct. You also brush up your knowledge and skills, with your first job equipping you with an arsenal of information that you could not have possibly acquired from any college/university. Most importantly, your first job serves as a trampoline that springs you towards a plethora of exciting career opportunities for the future.

Every student aspires to make a smooth transition into the corporate environment. However, it can be quite challenging to make this shift, courtesy over-expectations, negligence and lack of preparation. To avoid landing in the hot soup of disappointment (for both yourself and your employer), it is important that you equip yourself with a few tips that will help you swiftly adapt to this next stage of your life. Here’s a crash course that will help you do just that.

Thirst to learn

According to Mr. Udayakumar Rajarathinam, HR Operations Head, Logica, a multinational IT and management consultancy company, companies look for qualities like honesty and good communication skills, besides educational qualifications, while hiring fresh talent. He says, “A fresher must have a thirst to learn on the job. He must be willing to align his interests with that of the company. An individual’s attitude also plays a determining role in the selection process.”

If youngsters imbibe such qualities and start developing these traits while pursuing their education itself, then that would help them make the transition easily. Also, internships and part-time jobs help acquire the necessary practical skills to perform well in the workplace.

Often times, it is not uncommon to find youngsters losing interest in their jobs within a few months. More times than not, this can be attributed to their lack of work-life balance.

Due to lack of planning and prioritising on the job, their time with friends and family starts to either increase or decrease unhealthily, marking the beginning of a parasitic cycle. For this, Mr. Rajarathinam reveals the perfect remedy — the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) model. According to this model, every task must be performed in accordance with these four steps in order to acquire perfection. This would also help manage time efficiently, thereby ensuring that a proper work-life balance is always maintained.

Dr. B. Balamuralikrishna, Career Counsellor and MD, Human Excellence Centre, Chennai, states that positivity, adaptability, acceptance of the task on hand and complete concentration towards it are key traits that will help youngsters move ahead in their careers. He explains, “Work is the sum of action on the job, plus the perfect accomplishment of tasks every day. If youngsters who are new on their job follow this religiously, then undoubtedly, success will belong to them.”

Self-improvement

On tips and suggestions that will help students adapt successfully to their workplace, he says, “To start your job on the right foot, it is best to stay away from gossip in the office. You must accept the work given to you and do it wholeheartedly as it will help you learn more. Avoid questioning your superiors or torturing your subordinates. Remember that to be successful, you simply have to work with your colleagues for the growth of the company, and for your own development.” Mr. Rajarathinam further elaborates, “Self-realisation is an important quality that will help youngsters in their job. One has to identify and understand his areas of strength and improvement. If you can strike a balance between the two, then you’re well on your way to a successful career. Never see a problem as a constraint, as it is only an opportunity to improve yourself. The first six to 12 months of a job will determine how fast you climb the corporate ladder in your company. Ultimately, it all depends on your potential.”

So, as you’re all set to break out of your cocoon and spread your wings and fly, remember to make the most of your experience. It is allright to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. It will help enhance your learning curve. Be enthusiastic and never hesitate to ask questions to your peers or seniors. You’ve been hired because you’re smart, intelligent and right for the job. So, put your best foot forward and go for it!

PULASTYA VISHWAS

Marketing Executive, Twenty19.com

It didn’t take me too long to get the hang of what I had to do in my job as I had a great mentor. Also, my colleagues are a lively bunch. As it’s a small office, interacting and getting to know them was a fairly easy experience. My boss let me implement a few ideas of my own, even though they were poles apart from what was being followed in the company for a long time, when I started work. That’s how I knew that an awesome work culture awaited me.

Your first job is an experience you would want to cherish because from here on, you step into a life of your own, financially and personally.

ABHISHEK PAKRASHI

Support Engineer, Cisco Systems

I was an intern at my company for five months. This gave me ample time to get acquainted with the culture and work practices of the office. Celebrations and parties are quite common in the office, so this helped me socialise with my colleagues.

Students who are going to begin their new job must remember that there is a vast difference between college life and professional life. Apart from the money and the responsibility to pay taxes, you will have to adhere to your deadlines very seriously. Your college attitude, i.e., the ‘I will submit it tomorrow’, will not work anymore. Enjoy your learning curve and always take ownership and accountability of your work.

ARUNA NATARAJAN

Researcher, Transparent Chennai

I felt at home almost immediately with my job. I was excited about the nature of work. The relaxed working environment and extremely helpful colleagues played a huge part. Most of my learning was on the job, with adequate guidance at each step ensuring that I did not feel at sea. I found that I shared many common interests with all of my colleagues.

While it is admirable to know exactly what you would like from a job, it is also important to keep an open mind towards different experiences and challenges, as that will help you adapt to changes, or deal with unexpected hurdles that come along the way.

AFREIN NASIR

Research Analyst

It took me just about five hours to get comfortable with my job. Usually, when a new person gets into a group, there isn’t going to be much help coming in from the other side, in terms of informal conversations. So, to break the ice, I sat with my colleagues on the first day of work during lunch hour, even while I was fasting. That effort paid off and soon, my colleagues and I realised that we shared a lot of interests.

Try to be as adaptive as possible. Don’t hold yourself back from being the first person to break the ice. The first job is seldom a dream job. Networking is key to go up the corporate ladder. Use your experience and contacts to gain more than just the remuneration.

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