The Third Step: Entering the workforce

The Third Step: Entering the workforce

Tama Moni
The Dai­ly Campus
Jan. 30, 2018
STORRS, Conn.—Post-grad­u­ate stu­dents now face the task of becom­ing employ­ees in the cor­po­rate world. 

They enter the “real world,” in which they must pay tax­es, work for them­selves and nav­i­gate a pro­fes­sion­al environment.

This arti­cle will focus on post-grad­u­ates from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut and how they are cur­rent­ly doing in the workplace.

This con­cludes the three-part “Stu­dents enter­ing the work­force” series, in which the pre­vi­ous arti­cles explained skill devel­op­ment and major choice

3/30/16 Career Fair by Jack­son Haigis
Stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in one of sev­er­al career fairs host­ed at UConn each year

After get­ting their bachelor’s degree, some UConn grad­u­ates head­ed straight into the cor­po­rate world.

Heather Knorr, who grad­u­at­ed from UConn in May 2017 with a degree in envi­ron­men­tal engi­neer­ing, now works as an engi­neer at an envi­ron­men­tal con­sult­ing firm.

I had two intern­ships while I attend­ed UConn,” Knorr said. “One of those intern­ships was for the com­pa­ny that I am cur­rent­ly employed with.”

She said her work envi­ron­ment dif­fers from oth­ers because it is out­side rather than an office setting.

She explained her tran­si­tion from stu­dent to employ­ee and what she learned from it.

It’s nice that after your work day is over and you’ve put your hours in that you can go home or wher­ev­er and relax and not study and do home­work,” Knorr said. “The draw­back is that you are not imme­di­ate­ly sur­round­ed by a ton of your good friends—we’re all scat­tered around the coun­try now.”

She said she moved in with one of her best friends from UConn, so find­ing some­one to live with was easy.

Her advice to grad­u­at­ing seniors about to enter the workforce?

Your first job may not be your per­ma­nent dream job,” she said. “Don’t be dis­cour­aged, you will be one step clos­er to hav­ing the job you real­ly want.”

Scott Sei­gle grad­u­at­ed UConn in 2017. Sei­gle majored in health­care man­age­ment and now works as a health­care tech­nol­o­gy consultant.

Like Knorr, he gave advice to grad­u­at­ing seniors wor­ried about their job prospects.

Peo­ple are wor­ried that they might not have a job that makes a lot of mon­ey or a job that is super flashy—this is where patience comes into play,” Sei­gle said. “You just showed your­self that you can com­mit four years to com­plete a goal and had a great time (hope­ful­ly) doing so.”

Sei­gle said he got help from the Career Cen­ter to learn net­work­ing and inter­view tech­niques before get­ting hired. He said he joined stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions and had a great resume.

Sei­gle said he learned that the cor­po­rate world takes strate­gic plan­ning and hard work.

You have to learn to solve prob­lems on your own,” Sei­gle said. “When some­one pays you, they expect you to add value.”

He advis­es that when they enter the work­place, grad­u­at­ing seniors should try to talk to everyone—including the custodians.

Pos­i­tive inter­ac­tion is bet­ter than no inter­ac­tion,” Sei­gle said.

Sei­gle said his tran­si­tion into the work­place was dif­fer­ent because he com­mutes to work from home.

William Richard­son Jr. grad­u­at­ed May 2016 and dou­ble majored in jour­nal­ism and Africana studies.

Richard­son cur­rent­ly works as a news pro­duc­er for WJTV News in Jack­son, Mississippi.

He said he got his job not through intern­ships, but by net­work­ing with the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Black Jour­nal­ists and that he was “dili­gent in send­ing applications.”

He described the work­place in a more blunt way than oth­er post-graduates.

The cor­po­rate envi­ron­ment is ruth­less,” Richard­son said. “Employ­ers do not care about you as a per­son. They do not care more than they need to in order to make a dol­lar and make a profit.”

His employ­ment tips for grad­u­at­ing seniors?

Become close with your boss or boss­es. In case things go south, you need to always have an author­i­ty fig­ure you can trust when things get saucy,” he said.

He said tran­si­tion­ing to the cor­po­rate world has more to do with grow­ing up than the actu­al work environment.

He said he could man­age mov­ing to a new place and liv­ing on his own, but it was dif­fi­cult in the begin­ning start­ing his new job.

I had real bad depres­sion my first month employed,” Richard­son said. “But I had to mus­cle through because I didn’t have a choice.”

He said that even­tu­al­ly going to work in Mis­sis­sip­pi got bet­ter and that he can “final­ly be independent.”

Hold­en Pow­ell grad­u­at­ed in May 2017 and cur­rent­ly works part-time in cloth­ing retail while writ­ing free­lance. Pow­ell was a jour­nal­ism and com­mu­ni­ca­tions dou­ble major.

He said he wants to work in the fash­ion and enter­tain­ment field.

I’ve interned as a fash­ion jour­nal­ist for the online pub­li­ca­tion Col­lege­Fash­ion­ista where I would cap­ture pho­tos of stu­dents’ styles and blog about it,” Pow­ell said.

He said he would get bet­ter job prospects in New York and Los Ange­les, and mov­ing there would require strate­gic plan­ning. He said that he’s work­ing to save mon­ey and even­tu­al­ly make that move.

He said that grad­u­at­ing seniors need to learn to be more account­able for their work shifts when work­ing in the real world.

There’s rules to it. You will be fired and while it can sort of feel like a shrug ‘it’s only a part-time job; I can get a new one’ you have to under­stand that you aren’t in the com­forts and sphere of uni­ver­si­ty life any­more,” Pow­ell said.

He said that he had dif­fi­cul­ty adjust­ing to life after school at first but then took the time to reeval­u­ate his options. He said he had pre­vi­ous jobs before his part-time job, such as a “door-to-door salesman.”

 “It’s all a mat­ter of get­ting your feet wet and fig­ur­ing out what works for you, what you like, don’t like and what you’re will­ing to com­pen­sate your­self for,” Pow­ell said.

These post-grad­u­ate stu­dents all have dif­fer­ent paths towards their goals and careers. Some are in the begin­ning stage of their careers, oth­ers are already ahead.

They all advised seniors the blunt real­i­ty of the cor­po­rate world and how they can nav­i­gate it. Yet, one mes­sage still stands: It won’t always be easy, but con­tin­ue to strive for the career you want and keep a pos­i­tive mind with sup­port­ive peo­ple around you.