Congrats grads! (and everyone else too)

Congratulations! As usual, the semester flew by as finals drag by ever so slowly as the only thing standing between us and freedom. Thankfully, this class made the semester much more enjoyable and if I were to miss anything about being in school, this class would be up there. Mostly I’ll just be happy to graduate and am glad this will be my last class rather than something like stats. Congrats to all the other grads as well. If you haven’t figured out your next steps, there is no need to worry. I promise you will end up alright with your degree from one of the top universities in a world where only 1% of people get to attend any college. If nothing else, you are likely more than qualified to run for President. Hopefully your participation in this course has helped you to think outside the box and consider ways to utilize technology in your career.

By far the highlight of this course was hearing from all of you in class discussions and through your blog posts. It was great to hear about all of the various technologies being used and your opinions on things happening on social media. As someone who only engages with technology as much as I need to, it was great to hear how you utilize different platforms and perceive the digital (and analog) world. I feel Professor Kane was spot on when during the first class he mentioned the benefits of having undergrads and grads in the same course. You’re likely more engaged with and have a finger on the pulse of the latest tech trends. And as I discovered, gaining experience allows you to see the bigger picture much more clearly. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips I thought about while reflecting about this course. Consider them as you are about to navigate the professional world.

Wherever you work, politics are at play. I’m not encouraging you to play, but you want to avoid being played. For this and other reasons, I recommend you approach your first six months as a sponge and try to learn as much as you can about the history and culture of your workplace and get to know your coworkers. Spend some time with your supervisor and discuss how they view their role as a supervisor and what are their expectations of you. Spend some time with coworkers, office admins, other departments and ask for their suggestions on how to be successful. If your boss is doing a good job, you won’t always know the full picture but they will fill you in as much as they can (and that’s a good thing). If someone is disciplined in the workplace, you shouldn’t hear about it unless the person tells you. Sometimes your boss may even be stuck or limited in what they can do because of office politics, policies, or the decision of someone higher up in the organization.

Speaking of coworkers, just like with college, you may meet some and think you’re instant work BFF’s but they may end up a frenemy. A good rule of thumb is to never say anything you don’t want someone else to hear. It might be hard to resist jumping into a burn session on a boss or coworker but you’re better off avoiding the drama. Also, if you learned nothing else from this class it’s that everything you do on the internet is there forever so make sure everything you do at work is professional (don’t forward inappropriate emails, keep personal data on personal drives, etc.). If you have a work email account, chances are your office policy says that they technically own your email account. Don’t be one of the social media cases this course discusses in the future. But I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom, I’ve met some of my best friends through work and its good to have them around on rough days even if it’s just to sneak out for a quick coffee.

While you are now aware of the many ways technology can enhance the workplace, try not to get too frustrated if it seems like your office is moving at a snails pace or is resistant to change. Try working at BC where the go to software for course registration is still UIS. Even when you have all of the resources, simple changes can still seem impossible so it is best to be prepared and be patient. You may be asked to take on an important role with the rollout of new tech or can be valuable in helping coworkers pick up tips (if you are a quick learner). I know when my office switched to google apps several of my coworkers were afraid to ask for help but were very gracious when I offered or checked in on them during implementation.

I hope you find this helpful as you look forward to starting your new job. I know it was helpful to think about and I will definitely think about it more in my supervision of staff members. I think that is what this blog has proven most helpful for, a space to reflect on new topics during the learning process of this course. While I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with tweeting in the future, I definitely have a better understanding of social media and digital business.

10 comments

  1. joeking5445 · ·

    Love the office quotes. I just rewatched seasons 1-5.

    I think you give great advice to graduates. It is very easy to get caught up in office politics or drama without knowing. Educating yourself on the culture and politics of the workplace will allow you to understand it and avoid it if needed.

    I like what you said about change. I also work for BC and change can be so slow. Overtime, I have gotten used to the steps forwards and backwards to get to change.

    Good luck to you!

  2. fayehubregsen · ·

    Thanks for the advice @talkingtroy ! In particular, I will definitely channel the “sponge” mindset to avoid missing a beat. During my cousin’s first year on the marketing team at her company, she would set up weekly lunch dates with coworkers and supervisors. Then she would bring lunch for two and meet with someone new each week. She said it was not only a great way to bond with others, but also foster connections across teams and get to know different parts of the business (whether it be on the operations, finance, or design side). I think this is a great way to get a more complete picture of how the company operates and identify opportunities for further contribution.

  3. erinfitzpatrick123 · ·

    Thanks Troy and congrats as well! I really agree that this class was a high note to end our college careers on – looking back at college I think I will remember our interactive blogs, twitter feed, and varied opinions in class discussions. I hope my office doesn’t feel like it’s at a snail pace, but if it does, I’ll be sure to give my input or ideas into social media and digital business. Thanks!

  4. DanKaplan · ·

    Awesome advice @talkingtroy. After your presentation on domestic violence a few weeks back, I was fascinated by what you had to say and looked forward to reading your concluding blog. I think you made a great point about not saying anything to a coworker you wouldn’t want anyone else to hear. This policy comes into play way more than you would ever expect and I always try to be extra cautious in the workplace because you never know who is listening. Getting to know your company can be crucial in the learning process. I wish you the best of luck going forward.

  5. Thanks for the sounds words of wisdom! I will keep in mind what you said about how politics are at play in any workplace and to try to avoid being played. Also, I loved your use of gifs.

  6. CarbNatalie · ·

    Great post and greats advice! Loved that all the memes referred to the office, and thank you for making the anxiety to start the working life even just a little better.

  7. diiorion · ·

    Thanks a lot @talkingtroy! While I’m technically a graduate student, I came right from undergrad so these workplace tips will be helpful for me as well.
    I think one of the biggest points you touched on, and that we touched on in class as well in terms of technology in the workplace, is that it seems like companies move much more slowly in technological advancement. It was never something I even thought about before it was brought up in class but even some systems that I have used during internships seemed so antiquated that I couldn’t understand why a company wouldn’t implement new software. Oh well, that’s just the nature of the beast I guess.
    Thanks for a great class!

  8. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom! As a graduating senior, I am about to enter the unknown of the workplace, so I will take your words to heart. We are so used to adapting to new technologies and devices as students, so it’s good to know that it can be frustrating when organizations move slow to change. You’ve also inspired me to set up weekly coffees with my new coworkers, including those in other departments. While I’m both scared and excited to start working, your post helped ease my mind. Thanks for sharing, and a big congrats to you as well!

  9. cjprall · ·

    Great post. (And thank you for helping me decide to run for President instead of getting a real job.) I agree with your tips about etiquette in the workplace and how its very different from college. Especially with how public social media is, as we’ve learned, it’s probably easier now that ever to find yourself in trouble for not have proper discretion about what you have to say. Here’s to my first six months of being a sponge after college!

  10. zfarkas17 · ·

    Thank you and congratulations as well. I think this was an awesome final post and a way of giving relevant advice to those of us who have yet to enter the workforce. I think your point about workplace friendships is a good one, and I know I will keep it in mind as I begin my next adventure in life. Its been a pleasure to learn from you and the other grad students this semester.

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