You know all that whiny rhetoric about how difficult it is to find a job after college because of that chicken/egg phenomenon that exists with the whole required experience thing? Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about that. But the truth is, after leaving the safe little cocoon of our college dorms, the professional world can be really tough. We might think we’re ready, but when we get here, it’s inevitable: at some point we stop and wistfully remember that one class or professor or (if you’re a geek like me) that one desk in the basement of the library. Sigh. Memories.
In fact, some of us opted to just stay in school and get a master’s degree. You know, so we could put off the inevitable for a little while longer. After all, the most difficult part of it, beyond the occasional all-nighter, was Aunt Millie pestering us at every family get together. Are you still going to school? When will you finally graduate, dear?
Joking aside, the truth is we’ve all been the newbie, the fresh meat, that annoyingly optimistic new grad in the office. We’ve all learned, probably the hard way, that not everything we studied in school is true or relevant in the workplace. With the degree still crisp in its shiny, new frame, we quickly realize that we don’t know half as much as we think we do.
Two years later, my ego is still consistently battered and bruised. As a young professional, the growing pains of my career are still fresh and hard-hitting. I learn something new everyday. Sometimes I realize that maybe a few of my professors actually knew what they were talking about. Other days I’m humbled at how much I don’t know.
Most of the time, though, I realize that no matter how educated I am on paper, there’s something to be said for on-the-job training. My grad program never prepared me for things like corporate approval, office politics, real-life SMEs, visual identity guidelines, or that one supervisor who really doesn’t care that there are 45 comma splices, a misplaced modifier, and an em-dash where there should be a hyphen.
So I decided to create a series of posts to explore the new grad/young writer experience and talk a little about my growing pains and what they’re teaching me about surviving and excelling in corporate America.