In high school we were taught a few simple lessons: turn in your assignments on time, show up for class, avoid gossip, respect your teachers, and don’t start food fights. In college we were give a little more freedom, although the same rules apply: show up to class, turn in assignments when due, respect your professors, and don’t start bar fights. As a new member of the “working world,” I’ve been very interested in the parallels I’ve discovered between the school world and the working one. I thought I’d share these with those who are still in high school or college and who think having a job means no more homework, grading, and gossip.
Turn in your assignments on time. Although we aren’t being graded, we still are receiving performance evaluations every single day. This could affect a promotion, assignment distribution, reputation, and flat-out keeping your job. If something is due, turn it in early or on time. If there is absolutely no way of doing so, inform a supervisor. Just like in college when asking for an extension, remember that past performance is always considered.
Show up for class on time. This is a no-brainer. In life you must be on time. Whether you are going to a doctor’s appointment, or just picking up something from an expecting party, be on time. Although you don’t get tardy strikes, your reputation is seriously compromised whenever you are late for a meeting.
Respect your teachers. If you were or still are one of those people who get a rush from back-talking to a teacher or professor, I highly suggest taking up skydiving. In the working world, those loud-mouthed people who always have something smart to say are usually ignored, but sometimes are reprimanded right in a meeting. It’s humiliating and can cost you a lot.
Avoid gossip. For Pete’s sake, please try to keep your mouth shut. Gossiping in the work place is extremely unproductive and can be a liability if working somewhere that deals with classified information. Even internal office gossip is a no-no, although it’s more of a social faux paux. A gossip can be easily construed as untrustworthy and this is not a title you want to wear.
Don’t start food/bar fights. Although I’m sure neither of these scenarios is likely to happen at work, try to avoid losing your cool. If you disagree with someone, approach (if necessary) the situation in a calm, rational way. Heated arguing or even yelling is just going to cause embarrassment and will likely leave you labeled as difficult to work with.
Any of the above no-nos can leave you with a permanent mark on your reputation and you had better believe that if you peeve off the wrong person, your future employers will find out about it.
Some of the other parallels I’ve discovered at my particular establishment are holiday celebrations (dress up at Halloween, birthdays, etc), brown-bagging it (adult lunch boxes are fantastic), recess (trips outside on Wednesday to the ice cream truck), Chinese Food Thursdays (much like the sacred pepperoni roll day in high school), and staying located in one place for 8 hours. It’s also important to note that carpooling or waiting for a ride outside after work is now considered green and that you’ll never move up in the workplace if you don’t do homework.