The hardest lessons you will ever learn in your career exists outside your university’s career services department. Often, college career services focus on personal branding and job search techniques rather than how to become resilient and people-savvy in the workplace. This reality is considerably acceptable, given that most colleges strive to help place graduates in relevant, full-time positions following graduation.

What happens after you sign the offer letter? Instead of walking into a world of the unknown, here are a few tips to help you navigate through the workplace: 

Pitch Your Ideas In Front Of The Right People

Your colleagues will steal your ideas. It’s a grueling reality to face, but it must be known. Before pitching your ideas, make sure you understand the nature of the person(s) you are sharing them with. How do they interact with others who share ideas? Do they give credit on group projects or focus the attention on themselves in meetings? It is very important you trust those who you share with because your idea could be the next thing that moves a process, team, department, or company forward. If you don’t trust someone, save your best ideas for the decision-makers who will “yay” or “nay” it. You deserve to be given the proper attribution and credit for your genius – don’t allow it to fall into the wrong hands.

Embrace (Professional) Conflict

Take conflict head on like it is a collision – seriously. You will miss opportunities to address how you feel when you allow others to speak and do not generate a professionally, savvy response. When you leave a conversation with the thoughts, “I should have said this” or “I should have responded this way” you will foster a world of regret and it can change how you interact with someone professionally. If you are too emotional to respond to something you do not like, re-approach the conversation when you have calmed down and taken time to think about your response. Do not take a long time to respond; after several days, your comments will seem outdated and you will be viewed as someone who is holding a grudge. This can ultimately hamper your reputation in the workplace.

Take Ownership Of Your Career

You assume all responsibility for how far you go in your career. Many people will blame career downfalls on their circumstances, bosses, lack of ability, favoritism… the list goes on. In order to obtain career success, you must possess the emotional intelligence to know that you are the sole proprietor of how far you go. It is your duty to invest in personal development, brand yourself (online and offline), and create a reputation that boosts you to the next level.

Learn The Unlisted Job Requirements

Unwritten rules are alive and well. When you begin a position, you are not automatically provided with a handbook of how to handle different (and difficult) personalities, preexisting office beef, or whose endorsement you need to thrive and advance with the company. Be cordial and observant at work to understand the dynamics of your environment. You will easily begin to understand who are the prey and predators and learn what you need to do for self-preservation.

Create A Life Outside Of Work

Although the 40 hour work week may consume a large amount of your time, seek refuge in activities that are not related to your job. As you develop your career it natural to be eager and want to be involved at work or put in extra hours to show your value. After a while, your enthusiasm and eagerness may turn into burnout, leaving you with a trapped feeling of only being committed to a job. Join an organization, volunteer, start a blog, create a side hustle, or learn a new language to give yourself an opportunity to indulge in something that brings you happiness outside of work.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working that your Career Services office forgot to teach you? Tweet me, I’d love to hear your story: @TheWriteGirl_