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So, you’re graduating… now what?

We've all seen the memes and heard about how adulting is hard. Many adults wish they were young again and reminisce on the good old days. As fun as sleeping in until noon and having our bills paid for us is, those days are over, and unfortunately (fortunately), we can't turn back time.

The fantasy of living in the good old days is far from your reality now because you've officially graduated! (YAY, but also crying at the same time). You are now entering the adult working world, and there are some key factors you need to consider now that #adulting is your new reality.

1. It's All on You

Oh, how nice it was to be sheltered from the big imperfect world by your parents and a structured school system. Gone are the days of having someone tell you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Sayonara is getting away with mediocrity because the goal of graduating is over. Employers don't care about your GPA.

While this life model might have worked for the first two decades of your life, this is not what employers will measure you by. You were hired to do a job that you must follow through on independently. If you excel and outperform your duties, you could (and from GIG's perspective, SHOULD) be noticed.

2. Learning Never Stops

Even though you've graduated, that doesn't mean you should stop learning. In fact, the best way to consistently develop yourself professionally and personally is to be a lifelong learner! It's called development for a reason. This is especially easy when beginning a new job because you're not an expert yet. Be curious! Ask questions! Network with your team and other departments - learn as much as you can!

3. Your Role in the Workplace Culture

No matter how big or how small the company is, everyone in that company is a part of a team. There is no room for toxic energy. The company, your team, and your clients have goals to achieve. What you say, do, and not do or say affects the overall culture and balance. So check your attitude and leave the bad vibes and your personal problems at the door. As they say, "don't be that guy." Negativity and positivity are contagious, so ask yourself, "how do I want to spend 40 hours of my 112 waking hours each week?" We are pretty sure anger and complaining aren't on that list.

4. Soft Skills Are Just as Important as Hard Skills

For the past 10+ years, you have probably refined and perfected your hard skills. All those English classes have developed your writing skills. Math and science classes were for your analytical skills. Software classes advanced your computer literacy, or at the very least, computer efficiencies. While these skills are valuable for employers, they are equally as important as soft skills.

Soft skills can include critical thinking, communication, listening skills, and emotional intelligence, to name a few. These skills are unquantifiable and sometimes subjective, yet important in the workplace. They can determine what you bring to your work and team beyond completing your tasks. These show employers whether or not to keep you on the radar for new or more complex projects, promotions, and responsibilities. Work on these as much as you work on improving your hard skills.

Congratulations on graduating! Enjoy the graduation party and eat the cake. But remember, the life you've been preparing for starts now, and #adulting is hard. Everything can feel daunting and overwhelming at the beginning of the next chapter of your life. You're going to make mistakes. We say to make them! You will stumble, and we say fall flat on your face! You're going to get scared, and we say run through it! Dust yourself off, be grateful for the lesson, and don't repeat that mistake. Welcome to the real world! #HereWeGrow

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