Transition from Academia to the Workforce
Updated: May 4, 2020
Now that it’s been a while since I’ve had textbooks and homework, I’ve learned some things.
Before I had all the time in the world and no money. Now I have money but no time to use my money.
Jokes aside, here’s a couple of things I’ve taken away from the last year:
“Preparation can only go so far.”
I had unrealistic expectations of how much preparation can do for you. Academics and preparation can only go so far; the best teacher is experience. For example, I had always thought confident speakers with great content in meetings/presentations had always prepped intensively or was just born with the ability. I know now that this is not the case because my colleagues improve their facilitation and leadership skills with every meeting they attend, no matter how quiet and reserved they may be. I also continue to refine my own abilities during each engagement that I attend.
“I do not know everything and that is okay.”
My second unrealistic expectation was that people in the professional world had to know everything and never forget anything. LUCKILY, you don’t have to know everything! We are all human. All you have to do is be present, ask the right questions, and listen. It is better to listen than to sit and blabber like an idiot, trying to look like you know what you’re talking about, trying to convince others of answers that are probably wrong. And there is absolutely no problem with asking for help. At some point, even a hero needs saving. In school, I often felt ashamed asking questions because I didn’t want to appear stupid, but I now know that not asking the questions in the first place is foolish. By not asking questions, future errors or mistakes may be costly in both time and money.