I had a great chat the other day with an alumni who completed their Masters at Henley last year. She was reflecting on the shocks & surprises of transitioning from full time study to full time employment.
A key underlying theme was how the rhythm of life has changed. It’s something I can remember from the mists of my own time, and something that I’ve heard from others many times too.
In full time education we are locked in a cycle of learn, revise, deploy the knowledge (in an exam, essay etc.), and move on – repeating the cycle immediately with a new nugget of information. It’s something that gets more intense as we hit the annual or even six-monthly exam cycles from 15 years old on. If you go, without breaks, from school, to college, to undergraduate degree to post-graduate degree, that’s 7 or 8 years of a really tight, intense cycle. We get to the top of the learning curve, then immediately skip to the bottom of the next one.
When we get to work the rhythm changes to learn, deploy, deploy better, deploy better, deploy better………… Employers are looking for us to use the learning to add value to their operation, holding at the top of the learning curve.. In fact they want us to add more and more value from infinite incremental improvements following the step change of a piece of learning. This doesn’t feel any different for the first few weeks or months in work because we have so much to learn. If you go onto a rotational graduate programme it doesn’t feel any different for another couple of years. But once settled in a role of your own that learning soon slows to a drip, and the new reality of continually proving your worth sinks in.
Us humans are really adaptable, and this new rhythm will soon be in our psyche, but that first year of being in a job can be quite unsettling.
So if you are about to make this transition, then don’t worry – what you will going through will be common and will soon end.
If you are about to welcome a new person to your team, fresh from school or Uni, think back how you were, and have a little empathy whilst they get used to their new way of life.