I would like to comment on David Whitlock’s article, “With diploma in hand....”(5/30/12, A4), in which he gives his son some advice upon graduation from college. I thought the advice contained in this letter was very good. However, I would like to add a couple of my own thoughts:
Some in the community will recognize me as being a professor at St. Catharine College. In making the points I am about to make I do not claim to speak for anyone else on campus; I’m just giving my own personal views.
First of all, I think upon graduating from college, the recent graduate has to do what I will call a “mental pivot.” By that I mean, no longer will others be responsible for your(the graduate’s) success. If you fail, by and large, it will be “on you.” Others will not claim responsibility for your failure. (Strictly speaking, that is also true in college, but we all know that teachers are evaluated by students, so there is an aspect of shared responsibility.) So, what does all of this mean in practical terms? I would say, once you get on the job, be proactive. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Volunteer to do it, as long as it is within bounds. Also, look at things from the standpoint of your employer’s interests. The way to get ahead is think in terms of helping the employer first, and the rewards will gradually filter down to yourself.
All of this sounds like common sense, and it is, but I think that with what everyone has to deal with nowadays it is possible to be blind towards the obvious.
I wish all of you recent college graduates best of luck, and don’t be too choosy in taking that first job. Start where you can and build an employment record. Your rewards will come later.