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Try going from afternoon classes, hanging out in the cafe and late night parties to an 8-hour work day complete with neckties, brief cases, all-day meetings and constant deadlines. Not to mention the occasional, “Can you stay late tonight?” And before you can answer, your boss replies, “Thank You!”

Going from college to the workplace can be a difficult transition. After a few years of dry-cleaned suits and “team-building events” with my coworkers, better known as happy hours, here are a few tips of advice for your survival.

Dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have. Your bosses attire is an indicator on how you should dress. Should you become your boss’ clone? Not exactly. Fellas, if your boss wears shirts and ties, you should too. Ladies, if your boss does not wear spandex and a blazer to work, you shouldn’t either.

Living Close to Work
Do not become known as the person who is “always” late at your job. People could label you as unreliable. More importantly, this behavior could be apart of your overall work performance. My recommended solution, live close to your job.  You can wake up later and still be on time, even if you over sleep from time to time.

Be Well-Rounded
In the workplace do not gravitate to a certain group of people, network throughout the organization… WITH EVERYONE! Ways to network: join the company’s professional development groups, volunteer on cross-functional teams, have lunch with your coworkers or join them for after work team-building activities.

Watch your mouth
For many, the first couple of years are spent in a cubicle, as a result everyone is attuned to what everyone else is doing, not by choice.  Be mindful of your telephone conversations, and the sites you peruse on the Internet.  Whether you are in a cubicle or not, you should always stay away from conversations were employees are casually talking about others; being attached to unnecessary turmoil in the workplace is never good. Save the slang for after work, and speak proper English at the office. There is nothing more daunting than trying to have a professional conversation with an executive in your firm and struggling to properly articulate a thought.

A few tips for your first day of work. Graduation may have been a walk across the stage, but your first job might not be a walk in the park.

Be prepared. Be patient. Be productive.

Live HOPE. Give HOPE.

Jeffrey D. Chance
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship