When New Graduates Hit “The Real World”

I always thought it was funny that professors created a culture of not being in the “real world.”  They did it by saying “when you get to the real world,” and then some kind of scare tactic threat.

High school teachers did the same thing, only talking about college.  Then you get to college and they did it?  Seriously 🙁

That a list like this even exists is pretty pathetic: 6 Things Today’s College Graduates Must Unlearn.  Are you saying that after all those years, all that money, and probably blood/sweat/tears, there are things that were a lie?  Check out the list:

  1. Your degree is special.
  2. Your major matters.
  3. All employers want to know is “can you do the job?”
  4. You are graded on your effort.
  5. Your career should go as planned.

I read these as a jaded 40 year old business owner… and laugh through them all.  Ah, if I really could tell my pre-college self something… I wish I could turn back time!

The truth is, your degree is special, and your major matter, SOMETIMES.  It really depends on what you want to go into.  Although, you might find that what you thought you would love is really a mess, and not where you want to be, and you have to change careers. Not so fun, considering the time/money spent pursuing the first career.

Anything that starts out with “all employers want” is flawed.  Employers are humans, and humans are different.  Employers have different needs and wants. You can’t group their wants  by industry (“all finance employers want ____”), or job title (“all programmer bosses want _____”)… each person is going to be unique, biased, prejudiced, and have their own wants.  Who can tell you what “all” of them want?

Grades are such a facade.  I talk to high school and middle school teachers about grading, and the Common Core standards, and it’s scary the stuff they say.  Especially 10th through 12th grade teachers who talk about students who can’t read or do any math… but have been pushed through with passing grades just to get them the heck out of the classroom and make them someone else’s problem.

It is different in college, but after spending too many years in college I’ll tell you, grading is not based on effort.  Sometimes (too often) it’s based on the whim of the professor.  Plenty of times, grading is a mistake.  Effort, though?  No.  The real world cares about results.  Kind-hearted managers care about effort, and growth, especially if they see potential, but effort without results is not going to take you too far.

Career plans… LOL.  ROFL.  Sure… make them now.  Things will change your plans – life circumstances (like you get married and move somewhere away from where you could launch your career in finance).  Government regulations will affect industries, you might get “enroned” (study what happened to Enron employees, I’m now using it as a verb), your health might take a dive, or you might just figure out you don’t have what it takes, and want to move to something else.  But yeah, make plans.  Just make sure one of your plans is to be completely flexible and expect change 🙂