Adios canteen, hola cubicle

A lot of habits considered “cool” in college have no place in your worklife. Manasi Shah lists some

  • Published 17.10.17

Many of us look at getting a job as the finish line but really it’s the start of the career run. The days of slacking off — rolling out of bed and running to class in whatever clothes you can find, taking naps between Spanish and algebra classes, and staying up until 2am doing yesterday’s assignments — are over. That doesn’t fly in the professional world. Manikuntala Das, editorial trainee at the Mumbai-based news channel Mirror Now, learnt it the hard way. “My very first week, a bunch of us fresh recruits went down to the canteen,” recounts Das, “My Whatsapp notified: “Get to the desk right now”, a message from the desk head. When we came back, we realised the news desk was practically empty — unacceptable at a 24-hour news channel. Reality check: chilling in office is a no-no.”

To make the transition easier, here’s a list of habits you must leave by the door when you enter the workplace.
Give up tardiness: It is time to bid goodbye to long lunch breaks and reaching “5 minutes” late for everything. It shows that you do not respect other peoples’ time. Reach office a bit early to win brownie points.

Say no to social media: In college, students get used to being on social media all the time. At work, however, it is unacceptable for your phone or PC to buzz with notifications. That is the reason many companies block such sites, or provide limited access. Instead, socialise with co-workers.

Don’t be distracted: It might be alright to zone out during college lectures, but that’s a habit that will give you grief in the workplace. Learn to stay focused for long periods.

Be a team player: While tackling a class project single-handedly may earn you kudos in college, at work team players are appreciated and one-upmanship earns censure.

Be aware of body language:  It is more powerful than words. While rolling your eyes or not looking into the eyes while having a conversation is totally cool in college, that is no way to behave around colleagues.

An internship turns a student into a professional, believes Tridibesh Bandyopadhyay, director and CEO of InSkills.

“Classroom teaching can’t make students sensitive to the challenges of a workplace — that comes from actual work exposure. Internship is more about picking up work skills, not so much about domain knowledge. Therefore, students, regardless of stream, should be actively searching for internships,” he says.

So now you know how to become work ready.