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Photograph of graduation cap that reads "Tips to Work by!"

This week’s guest writer for the Weekly Report is Client Services Manager Katie Rossberg, a 2016 graduate of Randolph-Macon College.

So, you’ve woken up the day after your college graduation, still buzzing with excitement from the final week of campus festivities. Suddenly you’re faced with entering the “real world,” and you really don’t know what that means even though you’ve been hearing about it for years. You’re scrolling through graduation photos on Snapchat and the panic starts to set in. “Oh snap!” Never fear my friends! My name is Katie. I’ve been in the real world for five-plus years so I am now your guide in all things “young adulthood.”

I’m 27 and I just celebrated my five-year college reunion. This milestone made me think of advice I could have given a younger me. Here are a few things that might help you or the recent grad in your life:

Be early, not on time: Most workplaces start at 8:30 a.m. or sooner (and you thought that 9 a.m. class was bad). Make sure that you are getting to work 15 minutes before you’re supposed to be there. It not only makes you look good but helps you prepare for the day ahead.

There’s a difference between expectations and goals: While the expectation may be to make a six-figure salary, have unlimited PTO, and work a four-day workweek, this is likely not going to happen at your first job. Set a goal and work towards it.

Don’t live for the weekend: Make sure you have fun during the week, whatever that looks like for you. If you don’t, you might start to feel like you hate your job, when in reality you just hate not having fun. While a workweek may feel like work, it doesn’t have to be miserable. (BTW, tell Dave I LOVE my job!)

Don’t say ‘no’ too often: The reality is, you likely will not be doing exactly what you signed up for, and that’s OK! No task is too small or unimportant for you to take on in your first six months. Trust me on this one.

It’s OK to say “I don’t know:” This is a tricky one because we youngins want to be perceived as capable and confident to our peers. However, I will tell you that pretending you can handle something and doing it incorrectly is way worse than asking for some clarity upfront.

Always send a follow-up email: No matter what the meeting or phone call was about, send the follow-up email. It might be a lengthy recap of next steps, or even just a “thank you for your time” follow-up, but just send it. There’s a high chance that it will go unanswered, but believe me, it won’t go unnoticed.

Brush up on your corporate phrases: “Close the loop,” “circle back on this,” “let’s take this offline.” If you follow Corporate Natalie on Instagram and think she’s kidding about the way people talk in offices, she’s not.

I’ll leave you with the biggest piece of advice that I can give. You need to look for the right company, not the right job. Growth is not always measured by job title changes or salary increases, but most often in feeling valued, heard, and respected. When looking for a job, we all think “I hope they like me,” but I’ve found it’s best to ask yourself the question “Do I like them?” Finding that company might take more time, but it’s well worth it in the end.

If you want to send over your resume to, you might get a chance to work with a big, fun bunch of Madison+Main-iacs!