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13 tips for graduates transitioning to working life

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Hays’ Sandra Henke shares her advice for those at the start of their career journey on how to successfully move from student life to the working world.

Click here for more advice for the sci-tech class of 2022.

Have you recently graduated? Are you grieving the loss of your old student life? Are you wondering what it will be like to be a fully-fledged member of the working world?

I hate to break it to you, and as patronising as it might sound, you really are about to enter the real world, one that will bring a whole load of new lessons. So, remember, just because the relentless exam process has finally stopped for you, your learning hasn’t. Far from it.

Quite frankly, the prospect of making this life-changing transition can feel terrifying. But it doesn’t need to be. I want to share with you how you can successfully transition from university, college or school, to working life – and get your career off to the best start possible

Accept that everything is going to change

From now on, your life is going to be different in pretty much every way. You’ll have to get used to early mornings, possibly commuting and not going out partying on a Wednesday night, which might mean your social life isn’t perhaps as fun or wild as it once was – during the weekdays, anyway.

You may well have moved back in with your parents again or have even moved to a new city, meaning your home life will change too. You must do your best to accept and even embrace these changes. Try to see this change as an opportunity for personal growth and learning, instead of a negative thing.

You’ve dealt with change before

Remember, you’ve managed to deal with the unsettling feelings that come with change in the past, so you’ll adapt quickly again this time. Think back to when you first started university. Everything about your life changed overnight, but you quickly managed to settle in, in what felt like the blink of an eye.

Adjusting to the changes that come with starting your new job is no different. You are more adaptable than you think, so draw some confidence from that as you prepare to enter the next chapter of your life. Understand these changes are only temporarily unsettling, and you will quickly form new habits, schedules and rituals, and importantly, start to enjoy your new life.

Keep an open mind

I’m sure you’ve long wondered what the ‘corporate world’ is really like, being an eager spectator from the outside, waiting for your time to enter it. You’ve probably formed some strong assumptions over the years – both good and bad – from family, friends, lecturers, careers advisers, even TV programmes and films.

Of course, some of these assumptions will be more accurate than others. So, try to keep an open mind as you embark on your first job, free from preconceived ideas about what it will be like.

Be patient and persevere

If you’re about to start your first proper job, some of your responsibilities will likely be relatively admin-based, at least to begin with. This won’t be the case forever, so try to understand and appreciate that from the outset, instead of feeling unmotivated or dejected.

As you climb your career ladder and become more senior, your responsibilities and tasks will become more interesting and advanced. So, be patient, stay motivated and persevere.

Your first job won’t be your last

It’s important to understand that your first job won’t be your last one, for the simple reason that we’re all living and working for longer than we have ever done in the past.

So, if your first job isn’t everything you thought it would be, don’t worry too much. This is just the first stage of your career journey – you have a wealth of experiences ahead of you. Take as much as you can from your current role, and then move on.

Don’t compare yourself to your friends

In the era of social media, when it feels as if everyone is on a quest for more ‘likes’, it can be easy to start comparing yourself to your friends from university. This isn’t healthy and it’s certainly not helpful.

Instead of scrolling through their social feeds, talk directly to your friends – ideally in person – about how they are transitioning from student to working life. You will find that most of them will be in the same boat as you, which can be reassuring and can also give you a sense of perspective.

Remember that social media can be deeply deceptive, as people only tend to share the things on their social media profiles that they wish others to see.

Try not to feel intimidated

During your time as a student, the only people you probably would have come across regularly who were in a more ‘senior’ position to you were your lecturers. The world of work can be a whole different ball game. You’ll almost certainly come across people who are much older than you, and in much more senior positions – possibly positions that you might aspire to be in one day.

Try not to feel intimidated by this, instead see it as an opportunity to learn. Remember that even the most senior person in the company was once in a similar position to the one you’re in right now. Everyone has to start somewhere. In any case, it’s very likely that one day, you’ll be in their shoes!

Realise that you’ll be expected to pick things up quickly

One thing you’ll have probably learned during your time in education, is that you can’t expect to be spoon-fed if you want to be successful. Much the same can be said if you’re to succeed in the world of work. You will almost certainly be expected to get to grips with the responsibilities of your new role relatively quickly.

Of course, your new employer will help you do this, but it’s also important that you personally commit to proactively learning and working hard, particularly as you’re settling in and finding your feet.

Also, you have learned heaps of transferrable skills at college or university (things like self-motivation and tenacity, time management, the ability to work under pressure, personal development and communication) so put these to good use as you make the transition into full-time paid work.

Remember, it will typically take you three to six months to feel truly settled and adept in your role, so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself either.

Have the confidence to ask questions and share your ideas

You may have reached what you consider to be a high level of knowledge in your degree subject over the last few years of studying, but when you start out in the world of work, you’ll soon realise you don’t know everything. In fact, you’ll sometimes feel like you don’t know anything.

Again, though, this is no reason to allow your confidence to be battered down. Quite the opposite, in fact – employers appreciate young graduates for their curiosity, energy and eagerness to learn, not to mention the fresh and new perspectives they often bring. So, if you do find yourself bubbling with exciting ideas when you join a business, don’t be afraid to suggest them.

Perfect your email and telephone etiquette

This might seem like an obvious point, but it’s one that is often under-appreciated by graduates. You will be expected to adjust the way you communicate when in a corporate working environment.

It’s therefore a good idea to familiarise yourself in advance with the key points of professional email and telephone etiquette, such as the importance of introducing yourself if you haven’t spoken to or emailed that person before and responding to stakeholders in a professional and timely manner.

Prepare to have less free time

While your income is likely to go up as a result of your first job, the amount of free time you have will almost certainly go down – you’ll no longer have those long summer holidays, for starters.

However, the commencement of this new chapter of your life is also a great opportunity to start using your time more wisely, including carefully planning what you do in the evenings, as opposed to the random jaunts to the pub or club that might have been typical of your student days.

To start with, you might feel like all you’re doing is working. However, once you get used to your elevated hours spent earning your own money, you’ll realise there’s a lot that can be done after 5pm and during the weekends.

You will have different people in your life

Entering the world of work means meeting a lot of people who will probably be very different to those you’ve come across before. Whereas university lectures were likely often full of people of a very similar age generation and outlook on the world, your new work colleagues will probably be very different.

This isn’t something that should scare you – it is actually a good thing. You might not expect to become good friends with someone who is 10 years older than you, but you’ll soon realise that you have a lot more in common with your co-workers than you first think.

Bear in mind that the contacts you make now will probably stay with you throughout your career and will therefore be fundamental to your success both now and in the future. In short, these people you might not initially think you can easily relate to, may be vital in helping to build the foundations of your career.

Establish healthy habits

It can be so easy to fall into less-than-healthy habits during your first weeks and months in your first job. After all, you’ll be ‘on-the-go’ all the time and everything else seems to take a backseat. You may have also inherited some unhealthy habits from your time at university – I’m referring to things like staying up too late when you need to get up early to go to work or allowing a sedentary lifestyle to take over if you work in an office role.

So, be sure to embed good habits from the beginning, including eating well, exercising, resting and relaxing – doing this will help you establish, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Committing to healthy habits early on will also help you to not only adjust better to this drastic change in your life, but also perform at your best in your first job, keep you motivated and feeling less stressed.

The transition from student life to the world of work can understandably feel intimidating and overwhelming – but it really doesn’t have to be this way. By following these steps, you can ensure that you start your career in the best way possible, whilst laying the foundations for your future success.

By Sandra Henke

Sandra Henke is the group head of people and culture at Hays. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays blog.

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Singapore pulls plug on COVID tracking program • The Register

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Thursday that it was finally pulling the plug on its COVID tracking program.

On February 13, the city-state’s TraceTogether (TT) program, which uses the Bluetooth radios in mobile phones to track movements, and its business check-in system SafeEntry (SE) will come to a halt.

According to the ministry’s announcement, the government had already begun stepping down TT and SE, and would no longer require infected persons to submit TraceTogether data.

“SE data is no longer being collected, and MOH has deleted all identifiable TT and SE data from its servers and databases,” said the department.

The exception is data that was controversially used off-label in a murder investigation.

The systems will remain intact – as well as registration details including name, business registration, and mobile phone number – in case there is a need for reactivation. One example given is if a more dangerous COVID-19 variant were to spread. Apps will also remain available.

The ministry told members of the public, who haven’t been required to have them since last year, that they may “uninstall their TT App, and enterprises may do the same for the SE (Business) App.”

Furthermore, those with a physical TT token, which came in handy for the non-tech savvy as a device that exchanges anonymized identifiers, were asked to return the dongle for recycling.

Singapore began developing the open source TraceTogether at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The app constantly sought out other Bluetooth-enabled devices that ran the app and logged when they were in close proximity. The country required users to register and inform authorities if they contracted COVID-19 and used the app to draw up lists of contacts who were then isolated.

Other countries, including Australia, based their apps on the technology. While many nations seemed to flop at COVID tracking, Singapore fared somewhat better, even with similar technology. That success has been attributed to a culture willing to comply, combined with a government that modified behavior through other strict rules to keep the virus from spreading.

One example of the additional measures was tracking devices issued to travelers during a required one-week isolation after arriving.

In April, TT and SE became largely superfluous as their use was no longer mandatory except for select events. The efficacy of such systems relied on mass compliance so if some people weren’t using them, they were less effective anyway.

However, job postings for positions related to the program near that time sparked speculation that the system would remain in some form in the island nation, unlike in most other countries. Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) told The Register in late March 2022 the job listings were merely for replacing existing employees.

Australia quit its app in August after it was deemed a massive failure. Japan followed in September, and China discontinued use of its tracking app in December. ®

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Irish biotech Ovagen raises €1.1m for germ-free egg production

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Based in Co Mayo, Ovagen now plans to add 65 jobs over the next five years and hopes to see its revenue reach €42m by the end of 2027.

Irish biotech start-up Ovagen has raised €1.1m in an oversubscribed funding round led by the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) for its germ-free egg production business.

Ovagen, based in Ballina, Co Mayo, is a biotech company that has developed a process of producing germ-free chicken eggs intended for use in the pharmaceutical industry for products such as vaccines.

According to Ovagen, up to 20pc – or one in five – egg-based vaccine batches are destroyed because of contamination.

Overall, more than 1bn eggs are used every year as ‘bio reactors’ to develop vaccines. Viruses are injected into the eggs to propagate the virus, which vaccine manufacturers can then use to develop vaccines for diseases including the flu, yellow fever, mumps and measles.

Dr Catherine Caulfield, CEO and co-founder of Ovagen, said that current vaccines are developed using specific pathogen free eggs, which are free of many bacteria and viruses, but they are not germ-free and a significant portion become contaminated.

“Our funders have been instrumental in supporting us on our long journey to make a concept a reality,” she said.

“At critical stages in our development, our angel investors have not only provided us with their financial backing, but they have also introduced us to other potential investors, as well as their highly influential industry contacts.”

Ovagen now aims to go to market with the “world’s first germ-free egg” in what is potentially a multimillion euro industry.

“The global potential of the company’s technology is vast and that is why this is the second time HBAN syndicates have backed Ovagen,” said Declan MacFadden, an HBAN spokesperson.

“Ovagen is now in prime position to launch its product and we are excited to see the impact that this ground-breaking development has in a highly lucrative global market.”

Following the latest investment, in which the Western Development Commission and an existing shareholder also participated, the company expects to add 65 jobs (it currently has 12 staff) over the next five years, with revenues reaching €42m by the end of 2027.

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Republicans grill ex-Twitter executives over handling of Hunter Biden story | House of Representatives

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US lawmakers held a combative hearing on Wednesday with former senior staffers at Twitter over the social media platform’s handling of reporting on Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

The proceedings set the stage for the agenda of a newly Republican-controlled House, underscoring its intention to hone in on longstanding and unsubstantiated allegations that big tech platforms have an anti-conservative bias.

The House oversight committee called for questioning recently departed Twitter employees including Vijaya Gadde, the social network’s former chief legal officer, former deputy general counsel James Baker, former head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth and former safety leader Anika Collier Navaroli.

The hearing centered on a question that has long dogged Republicans – why Twitter decided to temporarily restrict the sharing of a story about Hunter Biden in the New York Post, released in October 2020, the month before the US presidential election. But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle used the opportunity to interrogate moderation practices at Twitter and other tech firms.

“The government doesn’t have any role in suppressing speech,” said Republican committee chairman James Comer, hammering the former employees for censoring the Post story.

people sit at table in congressional chamber
James Baker, former deputy general counsel at Twitter; Vijaya Gadde; former chief legal officer at Twitter; Yoel Roth, former global head of trust and safety; and the former employee Anika Collier Navaroli attend the hearing. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

In that report, the Post said it received a copy of a laptop hard drive from Donald Trump’s then-personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that Hunter Biden had dropped off 18 months earlier at a Delaware computer repair shop and never retrieved. Twitter initially blocked people from sharing links to the article for several days, citing concerns over misinformation and spreading a report containing potentially hacked materials.

In opening statements on Wednesday, the former Twitter staffers described the process by which the story was blocked. While the company explicitly allowed “reporting on a hack, or sharing press coverage of hacking”, it blocked stories that shared “personal and private information – like email addresses and phone numbers” – which the Post story appeared to include. The platform amended these rules following the Biden controversy, and the then CEO, Jack Dorsey, later called the company’s communications about the Post article “not great”.

Roth, the former head of safety and integrity, said on Wednesday that Twitter acknowledged that censoring the story was a mistake.

“Defending free expression and maintaining the health of the platform required difficult judgment calls,” he said. “There is no easy way to run a global communications platform that satisfies business and revenue goals, individual customer expectations, local laws and cultural norms and get it right every time.”

men in congressional chamber
Yoel Roth prepares to testify. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Elon Musk, who purchased the company last year, has since shared a series of internal records, known as the Twitter Files, showing how the company initially stopped the story being shared, citing concerns from the Biden campaign, among other factors.

Republican theories that Democrats are colluding with big tech to suppress conservative speech have become a hot button issue in Washington, with congress members using various tech hearings to grill executives. But experts say claims of anti-conservative bias have been disproven by independent researchers.

“What we’ve seen time and again is that companies are de-platforming people who are spreading racism and conspiracy theories in violation of the company’s rule,” said Jessica J González, co-chief executive officer of the civil rights group Free Press.

“The fact that those people are disproportionately Republicans has nothing to do with it,” she added. “This is about right or wrong, not left or right.”

Musk’s decision to release information about the laptop story comes after he allowed the return of high-profile figures banned for spreading misinformation and engaging in hate speech, including the former president. The executive has shared and engaged with conspiracy theories on his personal account.

Republican lawmakers seem to have found an ally in Musk, and repeatedly praised him during Wednesday’s proceedings. The rightwing congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene used her time on the floor to personally attack the former Twitter employees and complain about her own account, which was suspended for violating the platform’s policies on coronavirus misinformation.

“I’m so glad you’ve lost your jobs,” she said. “I am so glad Elon Musk bought Twitter.”

man in front of image of new york post with headline 'biden secret emails'
The oversight committee chairman, James Comer, a Republican, makes opening remarks. Photograph: Jemal Countess/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

But Democrats on Wednesday used their time in the House to explore how the Trump administration engaged with Twitter, revealing that the former president himself tried to interfere with content decisions.

In response to questioning from the new representative Maxwell Frost of Florida, the former Twitter content moderation executive Navaroli confirmed that in 2019 Trump tried to have an insulting tweet from internet personality Chrissy Teigen removed from the platform. In the tweet, which was read for the record, Teigen referred to Trump as a “pussy ass bitch”. Twitter denied the White House’s request, and it remains online today.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez further sought to disprove bias against conservative speech on Twitter when she asked about an instance in 2019, when a tweet from Trump including hate speech was kept online despite violating platform policies.

The former president told Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to their countries, a clear violation of Twitter’s policies regarding abuse against immigrants, but was not penalized, Navaroli confirmed, and the rules were changed.

“So Twitter changed their own policy after Trump violated it to accommodate his tweets?” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So much for bias against the rightwing on Twitter.”

The White House has sought to discredit the Republican investigation into Hunter Biden, calling them “divorced-from-reality political stunts”. Nonetheless, Republicans now hold subpoena power in the House, giving them the authority to compel testimony and conduct an aggressive investigation.

In opening statements at Wednesday’s hearing, Democratic representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland expressed frustration that the first tech-focused panel of the session is focused on the Hunter Biden story, which he called a “faux scandal”. He said private companies under the first amendment are free to decide what is allowed on their platforms.

“Silly does not even begin to capture this obsession,” he said of the laptop story. “What’s more, Twitter’s editorial decision has been analyzed and debated ad nauseam. Some people think it was the right decision. Some people think it was the wrong decision. But the key point here is that it was Twitter’s decision.”

The Associated Press contributed reporting



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