Career Lessons You Learn After University

Posted by | May 7, 2016 | Scholarships_CareerTips

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For most people, expectations are very high when it comes to their very first job. They dream about working in fancy offices, spinning around chairs and receiving huge salaries. But this is always the opposite as most graduates find that even when they have a job, things are not so rosy after all.

According to one Mrs Kirimi , the Head Of Marketing and Communication at ABC Bank, her first job taught her one of the best career lessons as she shares her experience with the Business Daily.

Career Lessons No One Taught You

1. The First Job Is Always Tough

Have you ever seen that job advert that looked so attractive on a newspaper and you decided to give it a shot?
According to Mrs Kirimi, her first job after graduation many years back was as a merchandiser in Uchumi supermarkets. The ad read ‘‘Engaging customers, with a view to up selling’’, seemed impressive and very important work.

But in her job, she had to encounter various types of customers she had not prepared for.

“From the middle aged men with their inappropriate comments, to their overbearing wives who marched past my chatter as though I was a pillar of salt. But that was not all. At the end of the day as we did our tally, I discovered another brand of customer — the ever so courteous one who would graciously accept my rice – but leave it in the trolley at check out.”

Lesson learnt? Even the jobs that look entirely dreamy on paper can turn out to be harrowing experiences.

2. Some Of Your School Mates Will Get Better Jobs

In the career world and as well as in life, everybody has their own luck. Just because you struggled to get a job does not mean that everybody you schooled with will have the same journey. Some of your classmates will land into very high paying jobs the moment they graduate.

And one more thing, you never want them to see how you are struggling with life and feel sorry for you. With her, some of her classmates who worked in big corporate firms happened to bump into her!

“My blood froze the day I ran into my former campus mates. Or more precisely, the day my former campus mates ran into me,” she describes.

According to her, they had hit the job jackpot. “I shrank a few inches more when they graciously accepted my rice, and (rather pitifully) wished me luck.” After this she realized that everyone must run their own race.

3. Accept Your Fate And Soldier On

As life is, you don’t have to keep feeling sorry for yourself just because you have not found a great job. You need to accept your reality and instead turn your situation into something great.

According to her, revolving targets, aching ankles and waning confidence were not her expectation but she had to soldier on as this was the work that was available for her.

With her experience, she managed to incorporate it into her CV as this could very well be the stepping stone to greatness.

“Within a few months the boss’ assistant quit and based on my performance I was chosen to replace her!”

4. Who You Know Matters A Great Deal

The traditional career lesson dictates that networking is the number one way to get a job. Whether it about a hiring manager or who works where, knowing people can take you places. This was the case when she got to work closer to her boss.

Her boss knew of opportunities long before they became public knowledge, and they landed well-paying job after job, as a result. I learnt this one well.

Every job she got since this one came through networking. Her advice? “You need to know the right people, because as you rise higher and higher up the ladder, it’s who you know, not what you know, that counts. Grossly unfair, yes, but nevertheless it is the hard truth.”

5. Choose The Impossible Bosses

According to Mrs Kirimi, the office isn’t a place you should seek comfort, and certainly not within your first 10 years. If you are relaxed, it’s time to get out! A good boss will stretch you to the limit, a limit you don’t think you could possibly endure.

As much as she complained about how tough her boss was, she noticed that tough bosses are often very fair and surprisingly generous once you rise to their expected level of performance.

6. Expect Hits And Misses

As fate would have it, she realized that life is a mixed bag. Her experience of selling rice still remains to be a great career lesson for her. The good comes with the bad so is life, expect some hits and some misses.

Whichever job you get to land, working your way up in a company can be difficult if you fail to learn these important lessons.