For many the transition from campus life to their first nine to five job can be a struggle. After 4 years of an un-routine schedule and constant social interactions, moving into an isolated cubicle can certainly have its challenges. Here are some suggestions on how to ease into the workplace lifestyle while still being effective and enjoying your first 100 days at work.

Socialize

It is important not to become a cubical hermit. Make a work friend or two! It’s nice to show up to work, see a friendly face and shoot breeze. This being said  it is easy to turn a 5-minute conversation into 40-minute distraction. Make sure to establish boundaries with your work friendships upfront.

  • Set up a weekly lunch and keep non-work related conversation to lunches or breaks.
  • Pick carefully who at work you invite into your non-work life. (I.e. who you have to your home, connect with on social media, etc.)
  • Be selective in who you share personal information with. A work friend may be great for sharing restaurant suggestions with but not ideal to share your frustrations about your boss with (Proverbs 29:11).
  • Exercise caution when interacting with members of the opposite sex. Whether single or married it is smart to keep interactions friendly and not flirty. (I.e. avoid one on one lunches, traveling alone, practical jokes etc.)

Express Yourself

The best way to start anything new is by being yourself. There are several ways you can express yourself in the workplace while not disrupting your work in a negative way. Try a few of these out.

  • Corporate black and gray can get a little boring to wear day in and day out. Add a pop of color or fun print that is not too wild but shares your style at work. Keep in mind that attire should always be appropriate and maintain modesty (1 Peter 3:3-4).
  • Don’t be afraid to share your ideas.  Many times our personal gifts can allow us to see things in a new way. Fresh ideas can sometimes bring positive change and create for a fun challenge for yourself and your co-workers. Your ideas may not always be taken into consideration but you just never know when you might come up with the a solution for your organizations latest issue.

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Goals Disguised as Games

While this may sound a tad cheesy. One of the best ways to see past everyday mundane tasks  is to set goals and have healthy comradery.

  • Create a daily checklist for yourself. If you achieve all those tasks each day for a week reward yourself with a fun weekend activity. This helps you stay organized and motivated.  
  • Set up friendly competition with co-workers. Have a mailing you are dreading doing?  See who can stuff the most envelopes in an hour (while maintaining quality of course).
  • Play make believe. Is there a promotion or a role you dream to have. Envision yourself in that role; what skills or knowledge would you need to obtain to be in that role? Ask to job shadow someone in that role in your organization. Find a mentor. Dreaming is key to motivation and fun.

Whether you’re in an office, hospital, fast food restaurant or bank know you are not alone in the transition into “real life”.  Take each day as it comes. Find the good in everything and provide yourself grace as you learn and make mistakes.

Finally keep in mind that your work is not just for you and your boss but for God.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”-Colossians 3:23

What are some challenges you’ve faced in the transition from college to the work force? What changes are you ready to make?

Stephanie Noel is an admissions recruiter and resident director at a Christian college in Chicago. Stephanie loves to mentor and develop relationships with the twenty-somethings in her life as many had done for her. When not working on campus Stephanie enjoys listening to music and blogging. She has written for Amplified Magazine and Mod City Mag both as a music contributor.