For most fresh college graduates, the corporate world seems like a glamorous place to be. However, they often face a harsh shock when they actually begin working in a corporate environment. The glamour wears away, and the easy money they thought came with a corporate job doesn’t seem so easy anymore.
The hardest shock that these people experience is the amount of work that actually goes into working in a corporate setup. Most individuals in entry-level positions at corporates pull ten to twelve hour-long workdays. This would not have been too hard to handle, however, the recent graduates had been lured into this new world with thoughts of short and easy workdays. Watching a person in a suit and tie behind a desk gives the illusion that the jobs they handle are not very mentally or physically taxing.
A major cause of stress during the adjustment period is the lack of proper communication skills that these nouveau corporate employees have. From spoken and written skills to presentation skills, they are often unprepared for the level of communication that is expected of them. Knowing when to ask questions, how to listen, what to say and who to say it to are all very important tools for success in the corporate world. This ties into the first impressions they create on those they interact with.
Now, although there are training programs in colleges to groom students to be ready to join the corporate world, nothing can truly prepare a student for the shift in the environment from campus to corporate. The etiquette with which one is to conduct oneself is entirely new. Learning how to dress, handle business contacts, create positive first impressions and how to respond to email communication are things most people do on the job. Without being eased into it and being taught how to conduct themselves in the workplace beforehand, they are expected to observe and learn from those around them. Along with this comes the problem of navigating the political landscape of the office. Being unable to identify how key people tie into the status quo at work often cause new employees to end up with a foot in their mouth.
The most important part of working in a corporate environment is being able to manage your time well. With the amount of work that crosses each person’s desk, prioritization is key. Learning to deal with difficult tasks is an issue for some recent graduates because they are unable to strike a balance between thinking independently and asking for help. Organizing oneself so that it is easy to keep track of all the information you have and need can allow one to work more efficiently.
The biggest problem that most corporate employees face is balancing their work-home life. Most find that their work spills over into their personal life, and they are unable to compartmentalise their time according to healthy work-home life boundaries.
Other important skills that need to be cultivated are conflict management and team skills. Learning to be diplomatic, and understanding the nuances of negotiations are key to thriving in a corporate environment. This is because all individuals at an organization bring their own values and aspirations to the table. There will be conflicts of interest between team members. Being able to negotiate and resolve conflict are valuable skills. Understanding cultural diversity, managing relationships and learning to maintain your leadership skill are all helpful as well.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies