While college degrees can land you your first job, it cannot earn you the thorough knowledge required to excel and grow thereafter. There exist few things that only work experience can teach you. And here, neither I am talking about on job training procedures, or about specialization courses. These are things that you experience and learn every moment of your professional life, provided you wish to do so.
So the question is, what are those things that cannot be learned from diplomas and University degrees?
However, before we get into this discussion, there is one thing you need to know. Professionalism demands for certain skills; irrespective of the job role or the degree you have acquired. These skills sometimes become more important than your theoretical knowledge. And sooner you discover and acquire those, the better it is for your career.
Lessons that only work experience can teach you:
Listed below are certain essential skills that you need to learn from your professional experiences:
Team work in real sense:
Unlike organizing college fest, accomplishing work projects within stipulated time requires greater determination, strategies and above all, combined efforts to attain the same goal. Discussing ideas with friends and graduating colleagues was easier than doing the same with team leads and other coworkers.
There you could brush off ideas that did not appeal to you. Or you could step back when things did not move according to your plans. However, on the professional front, you need to grow beyond these and learn how to lend your ears to every idea that comes from people around. Thus, you acquire the art of listening; a key requisite to excel and achieve success.
Again, initially you do not own decision making rights as you are working under a boss who gives the verdict. Many a times you may come across superiors who reject any and every proposal you make. However, you need to accept it and work to implement someone else’s idea and that too with full potential. Thus, you know how to handle rejections with a smile. A lesson not only significant in our professional lives; but also relevant for many different aspects of our lives.
Rules of negotiation:
Fresh grads looking for jobs, somehow get programmed to say “YES” for anything and everything spoken by recruiters or hiring managers. And this is natural, because college pass outs do not know much about the professional world. Their only aim is to land desired jobs.
However, a few knock out experiences instigate the “NO” button within. You learn how to work out deals at your own terms and conditions. Be it your job responsibilities, salary hikes, or core business deals; you learn to negotiate with the other side in a manner that can earn you best deals without fail. And it is possible because, now you do have relevant working experiences and thus know your worth.
Although, negotiation skills are more or less innate qualities, these remain unexplored until sufficient practical experiences are gained. Thus, your initial years serve as a platform to brush up these skills that no college degree or programs can provide.
You become a great planner:
Well, professional lives are all about targets and deadlines. You accomplish tasks on time and that earn you rewards or sometimes nothing. You fail to do so and that definitely brings severe consequences. Thus, sooner or later you learn to plan out your own work and meet deadlines.
However, best plans and strategies are not something that comes instantly. Good and bad experiences both work to inculcate an ability to foresee things or anticipate solutions. And slowly you become a great planner.
You learn when to quit:
Switching jobs become extremely difficult for young professionals; especially when they make themselves comfortable with everything in their workplace.
From exploring tons of newer avenues, to dealing with difficult bosses, or meeting quite impossible targets, professionals become confident and slowly get acquainted with their current professional lives.
However, remaining stagnant at one place that has nothing to give and teach you is damaging for your career growth. Thus change is inevitable and courage is important to work out this transition. Now, where do you gain this courage from?
It is only when you take those initial steps of switching jobs that you can gain courage to move forward. Once your transition decisions yield successful results, you become more confident and aware about your own skills and potential.
On the contrary, a wrong decision may prove otherwise. Nevertheless, when you are young with lesser responsibilities; taking risks and facing adverse results is not as damaging as it can be, when similar decisions are taken somewhere in the middle of your professional life.
Thus, initial job experiences introduce you to various factors that need to be considered before taking transition decisions that cannot be learned from degree programs.
Career guides, mentors and trainers can help you take some essential decisions regarding your professional lives. However, the knowledge you gain from your own experience is a no match to anything else.
The above mentioned are few things that your professional experience can teach you. However, those who remain vigilant and consider every ordeal as a means to grow, can learn everything needed to build a promising career.