From student to employee: The bad habits you’ll have to change

When you get your first job, it’ll be time to start acting like a grown-up says Craig O’Callaghan

One day, after an uncertain few months of applications and interviews, your search for a graduate job will finally be over. However, be warned: the transition from student to employee is rarely smooth and you won’t be able to get away with acting the same way you used to. To prepare yourself, now is as good a time as any to start thinking about cutting out some of those bad student habits.

Quit the Facebook addiction

Funnily enough, your new boss won't be paying you to spend the whole day on Facebook. Unless, of course, you're working for Facebook in which case, congratulations will be in order. While at university you can always flick between work and your friends' holiday snaps without fear of punishment, you'll need to cut out the procrastination once you're working.

Leave your sport 'career' behind

Being leading try scorer for the 1st XV may allow you to strut around campus like you own the place but the workplace is a different environment. Being the star of track and field doesn't put you at the top of the food chain any more, so don't expect to stun your co-workers into submission with your sporting prowess - and learn a bit of modesty instead.

Stop living in the library

Throughout your university education, the library (or Wikipedia) always had the answer whenever you were stuck. In the real world though that's just not true. In the same way you can't read a book to learn how to ride a bike, there's no Work For Dummies guide to teach you how to do your job. Instead you'll be learning as you go. If it seems unnerving, don't worry: chances are the people you work with will still be learning things too.

Avoid cheesy nightclubs

Yes, 'Gangnam Style' gave us a brilliant dance move, and, okay, 'Call Me Maybe' is a near-perfect pop song but once you're surrounded by adults you might want to start going to bars and clubs where dancing topless to the Baywatch theme isn't de rigeur. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the cheesier aspects of pop culture but choose your moments and indulge sparingly. You're a bit too old now to still be screaming along to 'Teenage Dirtbag'.

Refrain from uni slang

This might come as a shock given your self-appointed status as the Archbishop of Banterbury, but it's unlikely your new co-workers will find your endless collection of ridiculous slang words to be as 'ladtastic' as you think they are. Nonsense words like 'chunder' and 'shlid' must be confined to university campuses to prevent them infecting the rest of the country.

Cut out the reckless spending

No matter how hard you try, money seems to slip through your hands like water. No sooner does a student loan payment arrive than it's rashly spent on a round of 50 Jaegerbombs. Thankfully, you should be going out less once you have a job so it shouldn't be too hard to start saving some of your monthly pay-slip. After all, adulthood promises a series of scary-sounding investments (House! Family! Pension!) which are more important in the long-run than an iPhone upgrade.

Save the partying for the weekend

There's nothing wrong with working hard and playing harder but the demands of a five-day working week mean it's better to confine your late-night antics to the weekend. It may mean leaving your favourite mid-week club nights behind you but you'll have 48 hours at the weekend to make up for lost time. Just make sure you're fit for work on Monday!

Craig O'Callaghan is assistant editor at The Gateway, the business and careers newspaper for students. You can follow The Gateway on Twitter @GatewayOnline.

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