The Journey From College Student to Becoming a Full-Time Professional
For millennials, the transition from college to full-time work is fraught with barriers and roadblocks. The underemployment rate for recent college graduates stands at 46%, so when I received my job offer from Lumix to become its first digital media and administrative assistant, I was grateful (and relieved) to have the privilege of finally calling myself a full-time professional.
Interestingly, this commenced my transition, or more appropriate, my journey, to becoming a consummate professional—a goal I chase and have yet to achieve. Luckily, my supervisors at this firm have taken the time to help me focus on a few professional skills that I needed to develop. These primary skills, which I fostered when I interned at several outlets in college, were necessary to succeed at a digital CPA firm.
Meeting deadlines during the work day. In college, I made sure to complete my class papers and internship assignments weeks before the hard deadline. Finishing a political memo on Tuesday meant that I could enjoy my weekends. However, there was one problem: I was a nocturnal worker—I would work on papers from 11 pm until 6 am because I relished nighttime silence. As a full-time professional, work needed to be completed between 9 am and 5 pm, and without silence. I could no longer work during my prime hours.
With guidance, I formulated task sheets that presented hard and changing deadlines, priorities of tasks, and layers of operations that needed to be performed. Furthermore, I learned to compose workflows for recurring projects. Now, whenever a projected needs to be completed, all I need to do is check my workflow for the due assignment. Task sheets and workflows give me a concrete method of meeting deadlines with ease and consistent quality.
Channeling Energy. In college, students have the chance to meet friends while walking to class, participate in group discussions, and involve themselves in extra-curricular activities. This gives them the chance to express their positive energy throughout the day. Obviously, professional life is a bit different—you can channel your positive energy, but in different ways. You should help a coworker with her workload, research new ways to contribute to the team, and propose innovative ideas to your boss. Being part of the team is the way I’ve learned to create more positive energy.
Staying Organized. The obvious nature of this skill belies its difficulty to master. Organization does not mean simply keeping your desk neat. Rather, as I have learned from my mentor at Lumix, organization means creating a streamlined process that allows one to rectify mistakes and get a positive outcome.
The most important point about this skill is its powerful result. Organizing around college papers is about research, learning, and, in the end, grades. While I learned quite a bit about different subjects, the grade is the measure. But grades are a means to an end, since a mediocre academic student can achieve lifelong success by being creative. In the professional world, on the other hand, organizing around crucial deadlines is about streamlining the process, solving mistakes, and improving performance. Performance is the measure—you cannot talk around or circumvent performance. Consistent performance is the ultimate outcome.
My new coworkers and supervisors have done a great deal to help me address my weaknesses on my new journey, and for that, I thank them. I know I have a lot to learn, but at Lumix, the learning process is well under way.
Jason Patel is the digital media and administrative assistant at Lumix CPAs and Advisors. He is a graduate of the George Washington University and currently studies political management. He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu player, outdoorsman, and aspiring entrepreneur. You can add him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or view his profile on LinkedIn.