If new graduates want to succeed in today’s 24/7, high-tech, global work reality, managing their work+life fit needs to be added to their list of critical career strategies. But unfortunately few colleges are making this part of their career services curriculum. Hopefully, with the publication of a new book called Getting from College to Career, by Lindsey Pollak, that will begin to change.
Pollak lays out “90 things to do before you join the real world,” including a key interviewing preparation step, “Figure in Work-Life Fit.” From day one, college grads who read her book will think about strategically putting boundaries around their work and life in a way that meets their needs as well as the needs of the business. And they will be ahead of the game because they will know:
It’s Fit, not Balance
First, I must yell “Hooray!,” that Pollack is introducing the term work+life “fit” to college grads when they first enter the workforce. Perhaps they will avoid the same “I don’t have balance” burden of those who went before them. Hopefully, as they embark on their new careers, they will immediately begin to see the work+life “fit” possibilities of their unique realities, rather than the elusive “balance” no one seems to attain. And they will understand that a “fit” which may involve working long hours right now may serve a purpose (eg. experience, opportunity, credibility), but doesn’t have to last forever.
Prove Yourself, Then Ask for Flexibility
I’ve witnessed countless managers frustrated by new capable, bright, young employees who want flexibility but fail to consider “and the needs of the business” in their plan. Today’s younger employees, for whom technology and the flexibility it allows is second-nature, often don’t understand “why I need to come to the same physical space everyday at the same time.” On the other hand, employers need to coordinate resources toward a common objective, and new grads usually require more initial supervision. These two perspectives can seem at odds, but by being patient and proving their value to the organization, young employees open up the possibilities for more flexibility. And armed with this insight, new grads can help reduce the level of frustration for their managers and themselves.
So if you know a new grad entering the work world for the first time, provide them with a resource that includes the work+life “fit” information they unfortunately probably won’t get anywhere else. You will be setting them up for success in meeting their employers halfway to find the work+life fit that benefits them both.
Do you know of any college career programs that are preparing graduates with strategies for managing their work+life fit? I would love to know. (Comment Spam Filter Reminder: I have a very strong comment spam filter because if I didn’t my site would be flooded. Please know that if you post a valid comment you will receive an email saying it is spam. But I can still see it and approve it….so comment away!)
One thought on “Critical Grad Career Strategy– Managing Work+Life “Fit””
Love your blog, thanks! I know you know about our Alumni Career Services at Bucknell University as you have been a great help with our Senior Year Experience (SYE) programs. One of the SYE programs is a pyschoeducational group that is co-sponsored by Psychological Services and the Career Development Center. It is called Senior Transitions and meets for three sessions, offered four times during the year. The groups so far have been small but rewarding in their discussion and assistance to seniors. The first session focuses on anxiety and how to cope with transition. The second session focuses on identifying what is most important to them in the next five years (in the broadest sense of the word, but often the seniors are thinking about their career plans) and the third session focuses on resources and how to find them. Our conversations often involve work/life fit and in the first session we show a little “extra” from a movie that profiles the musician who created the strange instruments for the movie and clear associations of life-work fit as he talks about why he loves his work.
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