Insider Inc. is my first job out of college. Here are 4 lessons I learned during my first year in the workforce.

Ali Fetzer

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I just finished my first full year in the workforce. I joined Insider Inc. as a Talent Associate on the People & Culture team right after graduating college. Despite having internships throughout college, this was my first time working full time in a corporate setting. Here’s what I’ve learned in my first year.

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  1. The adjustment from college to the office can be daunting — and it’s not talked about enough.

    Adjusting from life at school to life in the workforce can be scary. It has taken time to adjust from classes, homework, and studying to a ‘9 to 5’ routine. Education was a large part of my identity for the majority of my life, and it’s taken some time to get used to a new lifestyle. 

    I’m still learning every day, but my education in the workforce is more hands-on. And instead of tracking my progress and skills with tests and grades, I’ve had to rely on others (and myself) to validate my work.

  2. There’s no replacement for hands-on experience.

    This year has taught me just how important hands-on work experience is. I learned so much at Penn State — I took many Human Resources-related classes and learned the ins and outs of the industry. However, I’ve found that the most useful learnings and lessons have happened during my year at Insider Inc. Taking classes was one thing, but handling weekly onboarding for new hires and managing real parental leave scenarios is another.

  3. You aren’t alone! Find mentors to support and advise you.

    Stepping into an entry-level role on a team of more than a dozen felt intimidating at first. But I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the more senior members of my team. They’ve provided invaluable advice, mentorship, and guidance. I’m looking forward to offering the same type of assistance and mentorship to those who follow in my footsteps.

  4. Use the transitional time between college and the workforce as a chance to reflect and plan for your future.

    Joining the workforce has given me an opportunity for introspection. While I’m sure that HR is the right career choice for me, it can be daunting to think about a lifetime in one career. While only time can tell where I’ll end up, it has been comforting to have such a warm welcome to post-grad life by my team at Insider Inc. 

    For anyone about to go through the post-grad transition from school to work, remember to keep an open mind and know that you do not need to have your entire life or career figured out. It is easier to figure out personal and professional goals through experiences and learning from those around you. It is also important to remember that you are not alone in this transition, and that so many others around you are feeling the same excitement and nervousness for the future.

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