Adulting is really different from being in college in so many ways. When you’re making the transition from school to “the real world”, you’ll probably figure out pretty fast that some of the habits you had in school just aren’t gonna work anymore. You need to communicate and be proactive if you want to crush it at your job.
Whether you’re just starting out your first full-time job or in the middle of an internship, making a good impression is vital. If you are looking for a raise, a promotion, or a full-time offer, every little bit counts. Even though startups are casual, your attitude and passion need to shine through -- and you can’t do that if your bad habits are overshadowing all your good qualities!
So we bring you some of the most common bad habits from college that you need to banish. Like, ASAP.
#1 - Being late
You're gonna look like a kid rolling in late all the time. Via Giphy .
Was sneaking into the back of a lecture hall your M.O.? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that ship has sailed. Some companies offer flexible work hours, but not all do. Make sure you have a discussion with your manager about that.
If you’re expected to be at work or a work event at a specific time, it’s in your best interest to follow that. Budget your time well, and if you’re starting a new job, test your route before your first day (especially if you’ll be at the mercy of the MTA or BART). No time for that trial run? Then make sure to give yourself plenty of time to travel, including buffer time if you get lost on the way.
Especially as a new hire, you should never make other people wait for you. It’s a sign of disrespect and shows that you don’t have your sh*t together. You got the job, so prove to them and yourself that you’re worth it and ready to dive in.
#2 - Pulling all-nighters
You might have been able to crush a Red Bull and pull an all-nighter back in college, but it would be ill-advised to say you can do the same thing when you’re working a full-time job. At school, you could roll to class in your sweats, hand in the paper you were frantically finishing not twenty minutes prior, and then head back to sleep for a much needed nap.
Not the same when you can’t crash after that big meeting you were prepping for! Being a zombie at work means a lack of productivity, responsiveness, and quite possibly politeness. Stay on top of your work to make sure you don’t have to pull an all-nighter, and be communicative if you need extra support or time on a project.
And all nighters of a less professional type? We know you want to have fun (work hard, play hard) but remember you’re a working adult with responsibilities. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy yourself, but be smart about late nights out if you have an early wake up call. Goin’ up on a Tuesday isn’t always the best choice when you’re still trying to get on solid footing and make a good impression in the office.
#3 - Missing deadlines
Deadlines are given to you for a reason. It’s no longer a professor giving you an arbitrary 2-week deadline for a paper; it’s your boss giving you a 2-week deadline to keep the company moving.
Take these deadlines seriously, and don’t procrastinate. If you seriously need more time to work on a project, make sure to communicate that to your manager so that they can provide assistance. Learning how to budget your time and prioritize the right projects will be one of the best skills you can learn, no matter what industry.
#4 - Looking like you just rolled out of bed
Look, we all like being in our PJs as much as the next person. They’re comfy AF and athleisure is in, right? But even if it was fine in college to rush to class in sweats, don’t assume that they’re okay for the office.
Some startups are actually super chill when it comes to fashion, but for the love of everything good -- don’t show up to work like you literally just got up or just got back from a rough night out. You don’t have to look like you’re on your way to the Emmy’s, but please wear clean, presentable clothing.
And remember...proper hygiene is important, no matter what the dress code. If you’re working at a startup, you’re probably going to be in close quarters with your coworkers. Even if you feel comfortable just hopping out of bed and strolling into the office, the people around you might not.
#5 - Lying
We’re with ya, Ron. Via Giphy .
Ever breathe a sigh of relief after getting away with a teeny, tiny white lie to a professor about why you missed class or why that paper never showed up on their desk? No judgment, but time to kick the habit fast.
Lying on the job is not in your best interest. It’s one thing to fib about what you did over the weekend (yeah, totally didn’t binge watch the entire Mindhunter series on Netflix in one day), but a complete other thing if it’s related to your work. The aftermath of a lie, including getting caught, could seriously jeopardize your credibility and trust in the workplace (not to mention your relationships with coworkers and your career).
Need more time to work on something that feels like an impossible deadline? Don’t wait until the deadline then blame it on some “phantom” glitch that “somehow deleted” your file. That might’ve worked in college, but it ain’t gonna fly at your real job. As long as you communicate your concerns about finishing a project before the deadline, you and your boss can work together to find a timeline that makes more sense.
And if you made a big faux pas, we guarantee that owning your mistakes is the mature way to show you have the right attitude and you’re ready to learn. Take the criticism that’s handed to you and become stronger from it. That’s true #adulting
#6 - Showing up drunk
Early tailgating on Fridays? Def a college thing. So you showed up to that one class where attendance was required, and you just might’ve been a little tipsy. If it’s a big lecture hall, it’s easy to blend into the crowd.
But at work? Nah, chill. Again, startups are known to be super casual and midday beers might actually be a normal occurrence, but you don’t want to show up to work sloshed. Or be sloshed at work at all.
There is nothing more unprofessional, and no easier way to damage your reputation. Keep it classy and save the drinks for happy hour after work. Even then, your coworkers don’t need to see blackout you (aka your alter ego), so don’t pass your limit. Want some tips on how to professionally handle a night out? Check out this blog post on 8 Ways to Keep It Class at Your Office Happy Hour .
#7 - Wasting time
What you do on your own time is your business, but what you do at work is not. You’re getting paid to do your job, not to stare at cat memes whenever you get bored. Take breaks when you need them, but don’t fall into the habit of scrolling forever on your Instagram or Facebook feed -- learn to pull yourself out of that mindless state.
Your boss and your team will notice if you’re spending too much time doing personal things (or doing nothing productive), and it makes it look like you aren’t that committed to the job.
#8 - Playing hooky
Your friends don’t have class and you decide to blow off a Friday lecture to road trip with them for the weekend. You sign up for an 8 AM class and sleep through it every single time because you know the test is all that matters. The list goes on…
Playing hooky in the real world, especially if it’s to avoid a work event or important deadline, just means you have more work waiting for you on the other end. Companies have vacation policies and sick days for a reason, and you absolutely should use them -- just make sure you give your team the courtesy of a heads up when you can so there’s coverage while you’re gone. Then you can take all the road trips you want!
Job culture and college culture are two very different things, and the transition between the two isn’t always seamless. We all make mistakes, but what’s most important is to learn from them. Take a second to break your habits and learn your mistakes so that you can avoid any uncomfortable run-ins with your superiors in the future.
If you’re looking for a new job and need a little boost in the job hunt, sign up for Planted , and get in contact with some of the hottest new startups around the country hiring for people like you!
Original version of featured image by Element5 Digital .