Congratulations! You’ve been hired and start your new job soon. This is an exciting time, and I encourage you to enjoy your last bit of freedom before entering or re-entering the workforce full-time.
Entering the working world can be a scary transition for junior-level employees. Here are a few tips to smooth your transition from student to full-time employee.
1. Get your home in order
Are you moving to start your new job? If so, make sure you
unpack completely before you start work. You do not want to come home to
rooms full of empty boxes after a long day at the office. You may find it
hard to get into the 9-to-5 groove after a few years of a flexible schedule,
especially if your new groove is actually closer to 9-to-whenever the work is
2. Automate everything
This may seem extreme, but you should simplify your everyday life as much as possible before you start your job. You can set up automatic bill payment, housecleaning, laundry pick-up, DVR recording, and on – whatever makes sense for your life, schedule, and budget. Prepare for the worst case scenario: lots of work, all the time. Even if you are not super busy from the start, you may find yourself exhausted at the end of the work day from the stress of learning a new job. Save your brainpower for work and fun, not chores.
3. Shop within reason
Dress codes vary widely by office, so I suggest you hold off on any major clothes shopping until after you’ve been at work for a couple of weeks to get a sense for your office norms. But at a minimum (and obviously), you need to make sure you are neat and presentable starting on day one. A good rule of thumb for many offices erring on the formal side (like law firms or banks) is to wear a suit your first day. Over time, you will probably dress more casually, as very few offices actually require formal business dress these days. And don’t be afraid to show your personality through your clothing if it makes you happy!
The new job jitters have subsided, you’ve completed a few projects, and the summer is well underway. Before you know it, it will be time to wrap up your summer internship and head back to school.
Before the summer ends, here are three key things you should do to finish your internship on a high note:
1.ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Have you been emailing assignments into a black hole all summer? Now’s the time to seek out feedback. An internship is an opportunity for you to learn, but it’s also a chance to get a stellar reference for your future job hunts. Getting and applying feedback is necessary to doing that.
So, if you turn in an assignment and hear nothing back, check in with your supervisor after a few days and ask if they have any questions or follow up from the assignment.
If you turn in a draft of a document and have an opportunity to see the final version, edited by a senior member of the team, run a comparison to see the edits and take note for the future – this can be so helpful to improving your writing. If you have questions about some of the edits, ask for a meeting to discuss them.
If you do a few assignments for one person and the feedback you receive never goes beyond a vague “Good job, thanks,” ask to set up a brief meeting or grab coffee to talk about how you’re doing. Come prepared with specific questions in case you receive another vague comment like, “You’re doing fine.”
2. CHECK IN WITH YOUR MENTOR AND/OR PERSONAL GOALS
Were you assigned a mentor at your office? About halfway through the summer, check in with them generally. Are there any big picture issues they can help with? For example, do you really want to try a particular kind of assignment but have been stuck doing something else? Your mentor might be able to help.
If you don’t have a formal mentorship program, take a few minutes to think about what you wanted to get out of the internship and how to make that happen. Ask (nicely!) for the opportunities you would like to get and the work you would like to do.
3. WRAP UP ALL MAJOR PROJECTS A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
This gives your supervisor time to review your work product and follow up with questions and gives you a chance to enjoy your last couple of days and ensure there are no loose ends. Do NOT be the summer intern forced to skip the last day lunch or happy hour in order to frantically finish a project or even worse, the one who leaves work undone, meaning your supervisor has to finish it in your absence.
Highest Level of Education: B.S. Electrical Engineering (Certificate in Power Engineering)
Path to This Job: I’ve always been interested in the construction industry. I was working for an electrical contractor during college while I was pursuing my engineering degree. After college, I had moved to Wisconsin to work for a different electrical contractor for several years. I decided to move back to my home area in Metro-Detroit, MI. I started working for another electrical contractor and was offered a position at a consulting firm in which the company designs manufacturing plants.
A typical day at work:
4:00am: Alarm goes off, I get up and get ready for the day.
5:00am: Start my commute to work (sometimes I work at the office, other times I work remotely at the job site, depends on the job).
6:00am – 11:00am: Arrive at work. Startup my computer, check emails I may have gotten throughout the night as I have a few projects that are being worked on during 3rd shift. I work throughout the morning performing my tasks as required for the project I’m working on. This includes writing scope of works, design specifications, CAD work. It varies.
Due to my background being electrical infrastructure, most of my design work is electrical (power distribution centers, end use distribution layout, etc.). Due to the size of my company though, often times I wear many hats. I’ve worked on designing mechanical systems and HVAC solutions. I will design a solution to one of those problems and then review with a senior engineer whose specialty is mechanical. This is done as those individuals may have a significant work load and may not have the time to sit down and fully design a system. I will discuss with them the solution I implemented and discuss any assumptions I made for the project with the pros/cons of the solution to determine if there’s another approach I should take.
Scattered into these times, I will have meetings with either customers (project status meetings, engineering meetings, construction meetings, etc.) or internal meetings with team members on other projects that need input on electrical systems.
If my day takes me to the field as a project engineer, I will oversee construction focusing on the electrical side as we will have mechanical engineers to oversee the mechanical side of things. These projects are often in the scale of several hundred million dollars, so we will have a staff of engineers to oversee the construction to ensure that what is being built in the field is what was designed/spec’d and more importantly, to modify the design if required because the solution we may have come up with in the office may not be able to be implemented in the field for various reasons.
11:00am: Break for lunch if time allows. If I’m in the office, I eat at my desk, so I continue working as described above.
11:00am – ???: After lunch I continue working as described above. If I’m working 8 hour days, I will head home around 2:30 PM, but often times my days carry me till 6 or 7 at night. It all depends on the project.
Salary/Benefits: $80K, earned PTO, sick days, Medical, Dental and Vision
Employer Type: Private company
Employer Size: Large. Hundreds of skilled nursing facilities in the Western US.
How Long in Current Position: 7 years
Highest Level of Education: Associates Degree in Nursing
Path to This Job: I worked in a large hospital for many years and needed a change of pace. Started working for a skilled nursing facility doing MDS nursing.
A typical day at work:
5:00am: Wake up.
6:15-6:30am: Arrive at work.
During the Day:
My nursing job requires resident assessments for Medicare and Medicaid compliance. Arriving early allows me to interact with the night shift staff. I usually do not stop for lunch but will eat at my desk while working.
3:00-3:30pm: Most days, I leave
work by this time.
Salary/Benefits: $200k plus $20k bonus per year paid out quarterly. It’s based on both personal & company performance. Health benefits (vision & Dental), pre tax FSA, pre tax metro card purchases and 401k no match. I pay for health ($30 / mo).
Employer Type: Startup (private company)
Employer Size: 80 employees
How Long in Current Position: 1 year
Highest Level of Education: BS in Economics plus lots of industry certifications
Path to This Job: I was in an operations role and naturally took on a lot of product responsibilities because the role didn’t exist. I eventually moved over full time and never looked back. I’ve always been interested in marketing and advertising and been technical – I almost went to school for engineering but decided against it. I love product because it’s challenging, you get to speak to so many different teams and types of personalities and really bridge the gap between technical and business. It’s also a lot of problem solving and critical thinking, and I love that challenge.
A typical day at work:
6:00am: Alarm goes off. Lie in bed in the dark mentally going through my schedule and priorities for the day and willing myself to get up. Throw workout clothes on, down a glass of water and check emails and slack while brushing my teeth. Reply to urgent ones if needed.
6:30-7:30am: Gym time
8:30am: Arrive at work. I have a 20 min commute where I check email and slack throughout to catch my offshore team if needed before they leave the office.
8:30am-10:00am: Eat oatmeal at my desk with an office coffee while catching up on urgent JIRA (Ed. note: an issue and tracking software) tickets that need my comments, responding to emails and doing my top priorities for the day. This typically includes writing tickets for engineers of things they should work on, testing or reviewing their latest work before marking it as complete in JIRA, creating agenda items or presentations for meetings I’m leading that day, or writing emails to several team leads asking for input on decisions we have made or need to be made.
10:00am-10:45am: I have several team stand ups back to back. I oversee three separate teams and attend all their daily stands ups. In these meetings we review each engineer’s progress on items, and discuss roadblocks or items that need to be discussed. I jot down notes for anything that needs a follow-up meeting.
Refill my water and use the bathroom before my next slew of meetings.
11:00am-1:00pm: I’ll typically have back to back meetings during this time with various departments. These meetings are typically either with our Sales leads to talk about market feedback and any blockers to hitting their revenue goals, (and how the product or tech team can help solve them ), with my direct reports having 1:1s, or having meetings with engineers to discuss how we want to handle or approach a problem. Though I have lots of meetings the ones with my engineers are my favorite because we problem solve and often brainstorm several solutions. We will discuss all options and hopefully come to a group decision. We then leave the meeting with lots of action items to turn what we discussed into JIRA tickets outlining each task required to complete it.
1:00-1:30pm: Eat lunch at my desk (it’s typically a salad with grilled chicken, hard boiled egg or smoked salmon) while answering emails, or questions on slack. I receive a ton of questions from all team members and try to leave them to one session.
1:30-3:30pm: More meetings. These will often be continuations to the ones earlier in the day or external calls or in person meetings with our vendors. Since we are a small company, I also handle a lot of our business relationships with vendors or partners we use to support our business (some of them are software tools, some of them data partners). These calls will typically review action items for both parties and discuss issues or mutual clients.
3:30-4:30pm: Hour break to work on anything I haven’t gotten to yet today. I’ll answer more slacks and emails, work on a presentation for an upcoming meeting, or review performance for some of our live campaigns. Once a week I check in on the status of our projects and if we are on track to the goals we promised the business we would hit. Part of this time is also typically spent running around to coworkers’ desks trying to put out fires or discuss an issue really quick. I’ll make mental notes to update documentation later if there’s something that can be written for future reference.
4:30-5:30pm: I typically have meetings with our west coast team around this time, which could be a 1:1 with my boss, going over product updates or upcoming releases with the operations team in California, or discussing reporting needs with our analytics team.
5:30-7:00pm: Tie up loose ends. This is more emails, last minute JIRA tickets or slacks so my offshore team can come in to the office to new tasks, clean up my desk and write my to do list for the next day. I’ll also use this quiet time (most people leave around 6) to update documentation with anything new or FAQs. I try and keep this updated constantly so I get less questions!
7:00-7:30pm: Commute home. I try and spend 1-2 hours with my husband without phone time but will often check it and respond to urgent items right before bed. It helps me sleep! I have to check to sleep easily.
Salary/Benefits: $50,000, 4% 401k match, dental/vision/healthcare (employer pays about half), 4 weeks of PTO annually
Employer Type: Startup
Employer Size: 200 employees
How Long in Current Position: 1.5 years
Highest Level of Education: Undergraduate degree
Path to This Job: I loved the idea of helping people, but didn’t want to go into the clinical side of healthcare. I studied healthcare administration and completed a marketing internship during undergrad. I applied to a startup and have worked there since graduating. I started out as an office manager/admin assistant, worked on the companies budget overhaul, some CMS specific programs, and then then moved to communications/marketing.
A typical day at work:
6:30am: I wake up at 6:30 for yoga or running.
7:30am: Start work. I work remotely. My office is based on the east coast so I keep east coast hours even though I work in central time. I usually go through my inbox, reach out to my boss and check anything on social media that’s come in overnight. I manage our monthly newsletter, social media accounts, and website. I often have video calls with my team or other teams. I spend a lot of my time writing and editing others’ writing. I do some design for things like one pagers and campaigns.
12:30pm: Break for lunch.
4:30-5:00pm: I finish my day around this time but when we are busier it can be later. I used to work in an office setting and asked to go remote. I love the flexibility it has brought me.
Salary/Benefits: $60,000 with options to purchase health/dental/vision insurance; retirement plan in state pension fund or 401k with 6.5% match.
Employer Type: Public university regional campus
Employer Size: 100 employees at our regional location
How Long in Current Position: 4 months
Highest Level of Education: Master of Library Science
Path to This Job: I’ve worked exclusively in libraries since college and went right to library school from undergrad. I worked in a public library for several years before switching to an academic. I love the process of providing information to people and helping them find what they need. Every day is a little different and you never know what you’re going to be asked.
A typical day at work:
7:30-8:45am: Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast. I’m fortunate to have a very short commute.
9:00am: Arrive at work. I usually spend the first hour catching up on emails and listservs, looking at automatic reports than ran overnight, and troubleshooting any problems there. Usually I can resolve these myself, but sometimes I need to ask the systems librarian for help. If he can’t fix it, we escalate it to support from our vendor.
10:00am: I work on any new books that have come in and need to be cataloged, or whatever long term project I’m working on.
11:00am: My department meets once a week in this time slot. If it’s not a meeting day, I keep working on my projects. They range from really mundane catalog cleanups to very complicated serials edition issues. Academic publishing is a whole different beast from what I encountered working in a public library, and I still have a lot to learn, so this can take a while.
12:00pm: Lunch. I always bring my lunch from home. I usually eat at my desk, and then go for a walk outside while listening to a podcast. If the weather is bad, I sometimes walk through the stacks, but there are almost always students working and I don’t like feeling like I’m distracting them. Sometimes I just read in my office instead.
1:00pm: I usually meet with one of the senior members of my department so we can work on particularly gnarly problems together. She has been working here longer than I’ve been alive, so she’s a bottomless source of knowledge and institutional memory. She’s been gradually turning more and more over to me in preparation for her retirement, so this time is super valuable for me to pick her brain while she’s still working here.
3:00pm: There is usually follow-up work I can do on my own after meeting with my senior colleague, or prep work to be done before our next department meeting. I also look over my schedule and to-do list for the rest of the week and make sure I’m ready for what’s coming up next.
Salary/Benefits: $85,000/year straight salary + 2 weeks vacation + 1 week sick time + $2500/year CE allowance + health insurance for $320/month + steep discounts on pet care
Employer Type: “Corporate light”- a large private company owns the veterinary clinic, but I work directly under a Chief of Staff and a practice manager. There are also 2 other associate veterinarians (the Chief of Staff is also a vet).
Employer Size: Many clinics. There are 4 doctors and 18 people at my clinic.
How Long in Current Position: 8 months- I am a “new grad” as this is my first job out of school and I’ve been there less than a year
Highest Level of Education: DVM, which is doctorate level
Path to This Job: I took AP classes in high school. This allowed me to graduate from undergraduate college in 3 years instead of 4. My last year of college, I applied to vet school in the fall, did interviews over the winter, then started vet school in August. Vet school was 4 years. I interviewed the winter/spring of my last year, graduated in May, then started work less than 2 weeks later at the start of June. I picked this field because I love medicine and animals, and wanted a job that wasn’t a desk job and where I wouldn’t get bored.
A typical day at work:
Each day the appointments vary greatly, and some days I have surgeries and dentistry. This day I was closing, so I worked until 7:30 instead of 5 or 6 PM. Also, this was a slow day- usually I see more appointments than this!
7:00am: Wake up, feed the cat. Shower and get ready for the day. Give my rats their morning meds, eat breakfast.
8:30am: Leave for work.
8:45-8:50am: Arrive at work. Greet my coworkers, check the day’s schedule. Go through my morning labs quickly- a stack of charts with bloodwork and other test results from the previous few days. I don’t have time to call each client, fill meds, etc. right now but this allows me to check early on anyone that is very sick I might need to make an appointment for this day, see any other urgent notes, and so on.
9:00am: My first appointment comes in. The receptionists put them in a room, where my technician goes in and get a history (why are they here today, any concerns, etc). The technician comes out to get me and gives me the story.
9:10am: Both of us or just me goes into the room to talk to the owner, examine the pet, decide on testing, etc. I will bring the pet with me if they need bloodwork, a quick ultrasound, x-rays, etc. Meds are filled in the pharmacy while the client goes to the waiting room, checks out, and schedules a next appointment if needed. My first appointment is a recheck ear infection. Ear swabs are taken, smeared on a microscope slide, stained, then examined under the microscope. We continue the current treatment for 2 more weeks as it is much improved but not completely resolved.
9:20am: My second appointment is here. It is a bird with an upper respiratory infection. The owner thinks something might be stuck in her nose. Some time is spent talking with the owner about husbandry, snuggling the bird, taking a few pictures, and then taking the bird out back for a sinus flush. Bird is returned looking better already. Antibiotics are filled and a recheck in 2 weeks is scheduled.
9:55am: In between appointments, a technician carries over a Great Dane puppy to say hello as he is here for a “technician appointment” to only receive a vaccine and not have a full visit. My colleague saw him a week ago when he was sick. Everyone is happy he is doing well and making a fuss over him.
10:00am: Third appointment, 3 hamsters owned by a pet store are dropped off. They have been getting in tons of sick hamsters lately. One is deceased on arrival, one in very rough shape, the last is still quite sick but better. Called the veterinary team for the pet store. Euthanize the sick one, care for the less sick one. The company does not authorize hospitalization, but I can hold onto him for the afternoon before an employee comes to pick him up later. Give him fluids and antibiotics, put him in a warm incubator. The bottle of sugar syrup I am using to make up liquid hamster medication from sprays everywhere. Sneak upstairs to change scrubs.
11:00am: Fourth appointment, a family with 2 dogs for their yearly exam. They are both doing well, but one tries to bite me when I go to touch her so I have my technician come in and give her a “hug”. Each dog gets bloodwork.
11:50am: Having finished my morning appointments, I go to check on the hamster. He is now just laying at the bottom of the incubator. I mentally prepare for him to not make it, but have already given him all of the medications and treatments I can.
12:00pm: Lunch time! I collect all of my labs and charts from this morning’s appointments, as I haven’t had time to write most of them up. Bring them up to my desk, where I make food, goof off on my phone for a few minutes, chat with my coworkers, write up my charts from the morning, and call a few owners with lab results or to ask how they’re doing. I don’t finish all this.
12:30pm: My technician comes upstairs to tell me she thinks the hamster’s passed away. I come down and confirm, then call the pet store to let them know. They ask to be faxed the bill, and will come by to pick up the now 3 deceased hamsters. I write up their charts, update charges in the computer, and give printouts to my technician to fax over.
12:50pm: Back at my desk, working. Also ask another doctor a question about some lab work, get a test result the lab put under the wrong patient, and discuss a medication refill request.
1:00pm: Next appointment is here! Will finish charts later!
1:05pm: A young dog with a red, uncomfortable eye with discharge. Find conjunctivitis. Use a special stain to check for corneal abrasions, lacerations, or ulcers. Get some eye ointment together, show the owner how to apply the medication, schedule a recheck in 1 week. Owner is super grateful to be fit in today and that her dog is ok.
1:40pm: A rabbit foster owner calls saying she found a bite wound on him from when another rabbit accidentally escaped and bit him 2 days ago. She thinks it will need stitches. I block off an hour of my schedule- thankfully I have time as today is a relatively slow day- in case the rabbit needs to be sedated.
1:45pm: Limping dog. He is tense and hard to examine so it’s difficult to nail down the problem. I think his knee is painful but cruciate ligament is not torn, so I send him home for 2 weeks of rest and anti-inflammatory pain medication. The owners do not want to do x-rays or tick-borne disease testing today (which can cause lameness).
2:20pm: Injured rabbit is here. He is a very sweet rabbit, one of my favorites. He has an inch-long open wound that is getting infected on one leg. I take him out back to numb, clip, flush out, and then coat with antibiotic cream. I send him home on oral antibiotics, pain medication, antibiotic cream, and a recheck later in the week. Thankfully it does not need to be sutured so he does not need to be sedated.
3:00pm: My colleague is running behind and I have some free time, so I see her limping puppy appointment. This is a healthy puppy limping for 3 months. We do x-rays which are unremarkable, pull blood for a tick-borne disease test, and send home anti-inflammatory pain medication to be used for 2 weeks while resting. I will call when the test results come in. The x-rays will also be reviewed by an expert to be sure, so I submit the online form for that and make sure the actual images upload properly in the computer.
4:00pm: Recheck eye appointment, recurrent conjunctivitis. The dog wasn’t much improved on just antibiotic so I switched to an antibiotic + steroid. Recheck in 1 week.
4:40pm: Done with this appointment, spend more time catching up on charts and labs.
5:00pm: Very old cat with suspect UTI. Find new heart murmur. Client can’t afford bloodwork (suspect kidney problems) or a heart test ($50 add-on) so will prioritize urinalysis. Check bladder with ultrasound to look for bladder stones or cancer. Attempt to get a urine sample with a needle using the ultrasound- bladder is too small. Send the client home with plastic litter to collect a sample at home.
6:00pm: Unfilled appointment! Finish calls, labs, charts, etc.
6:40pm: New puppy appointment, an adorable baby Frenchie. We go over everything (diet, behavior, flea/tick/heartworm preventatives, scan his microchip, discuss ear cleaning, nail trimming and tooth brushing, etc) and do a vaccine. They will return in 3-4 weeks for his next vaccines.
7:20pm: New puppy leaves. I write up his chart, send them a welcome-to-the-practice card as they are a new client, and finish up things for the evening.
7:35pm: Leave work. Since today was relatively slow, I’m leaving with my coworkers, instead of staying past 8 PM writing up the afternoon’s charts and finishing labs!