Let me start by being really open… I believe the University of Tampa tries exceptionally hard to communicate what the “real world” is like.
What do I mean?
Think of those classes where someone always walks in a bit late, and maybe very unprepared. This happens in the work place too, but not very long because the person is usually gone. In the classroom you have second, third and maybe even fourth or beyond chances; this is not so in the workplace. In a professional setting, it is expected that you will come in early, leave late, and have the answers (or work diligently getting them). This seems a bit basic, but truly “being there” makes a huge difference.
Being present is only an entry ticket to my next point, relationships. Relationships are key in a world that is moving toward group leadership. It takes significantly longer to build a relationship than it does to destroy one. The corporate world gives us this example on an almost daily basis. What do you think when I say Toyota? What did you used to think? One mistake, one fault, one bad decision can cause the entire company to fall apart. The same ease of destruction holds true in personal/professional relationships as well.
How do you build relationships?
The most important aspect is communication. As you may have read, the majority of communication we engage in is non-verbal. So, how aware are you of your non-verbal communication?
Another important aspect of relationships, is trust. As I previously illustrated, trust is not something easily earned, but is easily lost. I have always regarded character as, what you do when nobody is looking, and would never know different. Being open and honest with others will do wonders in depositing some equity into the trust fund.
The last thing I would encourage you to consider, being true to yourself. In a world where we are valued to the extent of our personal balance sheets, it is important to take a step back.
You may want to ask the following:
Do I do work that I love, or do I do work for the money?
Do I value relationships or things more?
Do I wake up looking forward to my work, or waiting for Friday to get here?
Do I encourage others, or do I find fault in what they do?
The reason I am asking for you to reflect on these, is the world handsomely rewards people for doing these very things… think about it. As my colleague pale rider shared, sometimes the greatest fulfillment comes from experience. Having a job is important, but QUICKLY find out what you are passionate about, and go about doing whatever that is. You may find this is simple advice, but I will tell you it is much harder to follow.
You have the world in your hands. Economies will ebb and flow between good and bad, but there is no time like today to make a choice for a better tomorrow.
I wish you, above all, a happy and fulfilling life.