Getting Down To Business: How To Go From Full-Time Uni To Full-Time Work

Posted January 6, 2014, by Julia Watters

So you’ve finished up your studies and are looking at venturing into the big wide world of full-time employment. As you try on the power suits that your proud mother bought you for Christmas and imagine what your business cards will look like, there is one thing you need to know.

Full-time work is tough.

Now I’m not trying to put you off. After all, work definitely has its rewards and the financials are a big part of that. But as you trade in your mi goreng noodles for something a little more wholesome, there is one other thing you will soon be economising on … sleep.

I don’t think I have ever slept as much as I did in my university years. I worked to support myself during that time as well, so it wasn’t just study and sleep, but the latter was definitely in abundance. It’s no surprise then that getting used to an early rising schedule five days a week was the hardest adjustment. And as Dolly Parton warbled, workin’ 9 to 5 can drive you crazy if you let it!

So how can you hang onto that corporate ladder without microsleeping on the job and losing your grip? Here are my top tips on how to make it to the oasis that is Friday afternoon in one piece.

1. Routine can be mean

While it might seem like getting up at the same time every day would train your body to be a well-oiled machine, it’s not always the case. Particularly if that alarm clock is set at an especially brutal time. And while it’s good to get into a routine and make sure you get a good night’s sleep, it can also be good to mix things up and throw in the occasional midweek catch-up with friends.

That way you won’t be putting too much pressure on cramming all your fun into the weekend, you'll be able to strike a nice work/life balance and the week won’t seem so long.

2. Coffee is not breakfast

A day at the office (whether your office is within four walls or the outdoors) can take plenty of unexpected turns. These turns can sometimes get in the way of any lunch activity, so it’s a good idea to fill up on good quality fuel at the start of the day. Coffee, especially the milky variety, can seem like a meal in itself but when you get pulled into a three-hour meeting at 11am, you’re going to wish you’d chased that caffeine hit with a ham and cheese toastie.

3. Leftovers are your friend

Even if you actually get a break to scoff down some office nosh, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have enough time to venture out for said nosh. Bringing your own lunch to work not only saves you some sweet coin, but it means that you won’t be having a vending machine lunch if your window of opportunity is only the size of a peephole.

4. Blow off some steam

While letting off a bit of verbal steam in the office can get you into trouble, letting off a bit of exercise steam before/after work can just as quickly save you. Especially those of you who are about to take up office work for the first time, consider yourself warned.

You won’t realise how much incidental exercise you used to get in your student days as you traipsed around campus until you’re sitting stationary for most of it, eating at your desk and celebrating weekly workplace birthdays with cake. Get into a good habit of fitting exercise around work early and reduce your stress levels (and waistline) by getting to the gym or walking to work at least a few times a week.

5. You still need to do your homework

Just because you’re no longer sitting exams doesn’t mean that you can stop learning. To succeed in business, you need to remain ahead of the pack – and that means ongoing professional development. Seek out industry leaders and follow their blogs, attend networking events, subscribe to industry journals and never, ever pass on the opportunity to brush up on your skills through courses that will keep advancing your skill set. If you keep that up, soon enough you’ll be the industry leader who people are following.

By now you may be thinking that life after study is just endless drudgery, but don’t worry because it really isn’t. There are plenty of perks to the full-time work lifestyle and by following these hot tips, you’ll appreciate them all the more. 

Julia Watters

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