“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
We are in school for 14 years of our lives and then we decide, in order to grow, we must learn some more. This lands us anywhere from an additional year to what seems like an eternity in the higher education school system. During our post-secondary education, we start to become masters of our field of study, and although we are learning fundamentals and putting simple practices to use, it hardly compares to going to work every day and taking our learning beyond the textbook.
Education should never stop. One is simply never done learning, and the transition from school to the workplace invites us to learn in an entirely new way.
This is the biggest difference between in class and in office. The first thing to remember is to always ask questions and understanding the importance of it.
In school, when you don’t raise your hand or speak with the professors, they find a way to clarify what it is you need to learn. Professors understand where you stand in their classes and what knowledge you’ve been equipped with through their teaching methods.
In the workplace, this isn’t always the case. Many employees in your industry may have more or less knowledge than their colleagues. The company doesn’t want to see you fail, but nobody can help you if you don’t communicate.
Even if you think you have a firm grasp on the task at hand, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a good practice to repeat the task and expectations back for absolute clarity.
Although the workplace is a learning environment, you have to keep in mind that it is not a teaching institute. Every workplace has its own culture and own way of operating. It is a living organism you have to learn to adapt to, and in time, it’ll adapt back to you.
Take your time to understand the company culture. This way you take in as much as possible before trying something your way that you believe will benefit the company.
If you have suggestions, voice them when it is appropriate and always leave room for a conversation.
Keeping yourself up to speed is the hardest transition between school and the office. You are not given articles, books, current events, and projects to stay educated. Instead, you must branch out and find these materials on your own to help you grow. After all, readers are leaders.
The more you learn during your off time, the more beneficial you will be to your company and the more opportunities will open up to you.
Staying updated is as easy as visiting your local library or book store to find the material you wouldn’t otherwise read, looking for conventions to attend and guest speakers to listen to or stumbling across informative blogs to help further your knowledge. Networking within your company is always a great way to learn about new topics and to get to know your colleagues better.
Overall, the transition between school and the workplace can be both thrilling and nerve-racking. The best thing to remember is that you can learn and grow from anything, and that’s the most important aspect you should take away from the opportunity.
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