When you graduate from college, adults often warn that “the real world is really hard”. This is useless advice. What adults really mean is that “you’re going to make a shit ton of mistakes”. And it’s true, you will make mistakes.  Some of your mistakes will be huge, others tiny. Some will burn like fire, others will sting and fade.  

Below are ten of the most important lessons I learned from the (mountain of) mistakes I have made since graduation: 

 

The definition of “smart” rapidly changes once you graduate

The “smartest” kids don’t become the most successful.  Understanding people, human dynamics and communicating effectively inevitably win out.

Pick up hard skills

Your psych 101 class isn’t worth much at midnight when you have a Q4 strategic plan with a 9 AM deadline.

Work for a manager that you click with

A manager that cares, even better.  The content may be less sexy than working for Jane Doe on the 3rd floor but the amount and pace with which you learn wins out in spades.

Be reliable

Raise your hand. Don’t be sloppy.  It’s all you’ve got going for you coming out of college (one hopes). Eventually, you will earn you your manager’s trust.  The rest is history.

The best lessons will also be the most painful

Learn to pause in these moments. Don’t rush past them.  Otherwise, you’ll wind up right back on your ass again.

Relationships matter — treat others as you want to be treated

Oh, and be genuine about it. Co-workers both low and high will bail you out of trouble more than once.

Don’t focus on “climbing the corporate ladder”

It’s the quickest way to get knocked off of it.  Instead, keep your nose down and redefine what it means to crush your role each day.  The rest will follow.

Five year plans are great

Just don’t get upset when it changes three times within two years.  If your five year plan actually had worked out — you’d be miserable right about now.

Show up for yourself

Between juggling work, friends, relationships, family — it’s easy to lose sight of the things that make you happy.  The trickle down effect is real.

Don’t lose your cynicism — and definitely remain skeptical

Just learn when and how to voice criticism. When you do?  Better not be via tweet. @POTUS.

 

My advice? Jump into your mistakes.  Jump big and don’t be afraid.  Push boundaries to find new ones.  The day you stop making mistakes is the day you forfeit. Just don’t forget to be diligent and learn from each of your mistakes along the way.  Mistakes are very fickle in that way. Just as quickly as they will make you, they can easily break you.

Nicole is a Scouted Candidate with a broad view of the working world. If you are interested in learning more be sure to head over to Scouted where we can help you find an awesome job!

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