Are you a new graduate with zero work experience?

Here are some things they didn’t tell you about work:

#1: You are no longer responsible for yourself ONLY. You are also responsible for other people and other things. Congratulations.

Remember in uni, when you decided not to bother handing in that assignment, because it was only worth 5% of your whole year and you were too busy with your social activities (or planning your summer trip, or running a society, or sleeping) to give up a few nights’ work?

Well, no need to feel guilty, I bailed on quite a few assignments myself. It’s just that, you know, you took responsibility for your actions with all security that you screwed no one but yourself. Yeah, some people who study and screw up may be impacting others – their kids, loans, friendships, or future careers (wow so serious) – but mostly any ill-formed decisions you make are bad for you and do not directly impact others.

But when you’re working…

Should you screw up, you’re not the only one that suffers;

  • Your unit/department/colleague/boss’s reputation;
  • The schedule of a project;
  • The overall final quality of a service or product;
  • The profitability of that service or product, or the impact of the timing.

You see it in movies and read it on the internet, but in the real world, it can be you that made the mistake and made such an impact.

I’m not telling you not to fail because you’ll ruin someone else’s life. I’m saying that you may not have learnt, in uni, how bad or unlucky decisions can directly affect not only your life, but also bigger things. This is something you are more likely to learn at work.

But please, don’t let me scare you off from failure, which, in other, more optimistic circles, is known as valuable learning experience.

The good news is, you won’t royally screw up that often anyway. Godspeed.


I may or may not continue on this as a series, depending on material and my own motivation levels. Yeah, that’s a whole different topic, motivation…

Any thoughts? Do comment 🙂