I never knew that working with Students would be so challenging. And I was thinking about the things I wish I knew before I started my job a very short list includes:
- Students don’t make as much use of facebook as you would think or at least aren’t as predictable in their use of it. You think you know how students use it, having been one yourself and you’re wrong. Very wrong.
- Students are most definitely working to a different timetable to you. This isn’t a criticism of them but an observation on my part. Just because I have graduated, adjusted to a 9 to 5 work lifestyle doesn’t mean they will take that into account. They will message you at stupid o clock and reply out of your office hours.
- You have to tell people things more than once. Reminders are key.
I COULD be skating on very thin ice by typing a lot of things I would like to, so I decided I wanted to get a few opinions from OTHER people about what they wish they knew before they started their job. Thanks to all those who responded on Facebook and Twitter (you know who you are, keeping it anonymous).
“Never set-up your phone to access your work emails!! It’s so tempting to check even when you’re on holiday and it’s much better just to switch off completely when you leave work” This covers an important aspect I mentioned in my previous post (https://easea.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/things-we-forget-in-the-daily-grind-of-work/) I have tried and failed to link my work email to my phone and I am sort of glad now… I make sure that I leave socail networking sites open so IF a student should wish to contact me on there, they can. This also highlights to tricky nature of having students as friends on your personal facebook. I have a policy that I only add people that I am working with or have worked with. I don’t add everyone that sends me a requests because I don’t see that as professional. Other occupations around the uni, such as the sabbs will see that differently, which is fine.
“How much fun it would be. I hesitated taking my internship & now I have no idea why! I love it :)” This represents an important part of the job search, you never know what you might get from a role until you try it! So take a chance and at least go to interviews (it’s all practice) some people think some jobs are below them but it’s important to take some risks.
“It’s always important to know what the team is like before you start. You’ve got to spend a lot of time with your colleagues!” I often ask the question in interview/office tour “what is it really like to work here?” it’s really interesting to get genuine answers from employees. Some people have some misconceptions about some professions, for instance “recruitment consultant” but you have to take each company on its own merits. Some smaller recruiting firms for example aren’t as cut throat as you might think.
“In my old job I wish I had had the courage to not let people take advantage of me, and that sometime you can say no! I would also want to tell people that if you are unhappy in your job and feel unappreciated, don’t be afraid to talk to your boss or ask for a pay rise if you think you deserve it (which I did). Failing that, be brave enough to look for something else (like I did)” Two really key things here, firstly about saying no or turning down tasks. In some companies/organisations there will be people who will lean on people if they think they can spread some of their work load around.
“I wish I knew that when I joined (company) that the use the Bradford factor for absence so if you have a child off ill and nobody to watch the child when ill and you have to be off it makes your sick pay stopped and makes you after a certain amount of absences get disciplinaries” I can’t claim to know anything about trying to raise a child while you work, but I felt it was important to include this view point as it’s something that isn’t always considered. I think there are a lot of people that work their arse off for the money they bring in that need additional support but can’t always find it. It’s hard to hear that absences due to a child’s illness result in disciplinary action. but it’s hard to see an alternative that companies can use to “protect” themselves.
“I wish you were able to see the employee handbook before starting” I’m not completely sure why this was posted, nevertheless I think it’s always important to read small print and to make sure that you ask plenty of questions so you’re not backed into a corner later. It was only during one interview, where they hadn’t previously stipulated working hours ( I assumed regular 9-5) that they said “And you’re fine with the working pattern?” that I realised that I would be expected to work late sometimes, they even tried putting me off of it as well! So always inquire, don’t be scared to ask questions and don’t assume working regulations, always ask before you leave or you could end up signing up for something that isn’t doable for you.
“That it doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put in, the kids will always want more. I also wish someone had told me that there will always be at least 1 that makes all the effort worthwhile. Although that was a nice one to find out on my own” I found this post particularly interesting as I would like to go into teaching eventually. I think that sometimes in day to day work some people can find it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And working is not the same as Uni or School, you’re not always given immediate and obvious feedback so it is a good idea to seek it if you don’t think it’s obvious whether you’re doing a good job.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed, if you have anything you wish you had known please comment or message me and I might even add it on here 🙂