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.