Expect the unexpected: Teaching perseverance to the next generation

One of the things many students face once they leave their educational career and move on to the working world is how to cope with unexpected situations. In fact, many of today’s students won’t experience a major practical failure until they have their first job or internship. The classroom, whether kindergarten or college, offers an environment where teachers and administrators can make decisions they feel are best for the student on a case-by-case basis. Although this is a great, safe, way to learn life skills, it doesn’t always translate into life as a post-graduate. There are a myriad of revolving factors in the working world that the employee will have no control over, such as the economy or new technology. Additionally, the supervisor will need to make decisions that are best for the company or the department rather than best for the employee. Navigating this part of life requires a lot of perseverance, something that many new grads may not yet have had a change to develop.

1.  Personal failures vs. economic failures

Most new employees make a mistake here and there. It’s something that everybody does, and mentors and supervisors are there to help recent grads get on track and used to the pace of that particular work environment. Sometimes a job won’t work out because the company simply can’t afford to pay that person anymore or because they restructure their personnel. One key to finding perseverance outside of the academic environment is to identify the difference between a personal error that serves as a specific learning tool and a change in the economy. Some things are within the control of the student, and others are not. Either way, the person will need to focus on securing an alternate position.

2. Bouncing back from a bad situation

There are two elements to bouncing back from a situation that didn’t work out. There are the practical elements of learning about any personal improvements that need to occur and applying them to a new position. There are also emotional components to perseverance. It’s really important that a job seeker or new employee stay positive and look for a great mentor who graduated, perhaps, 10 or 15 years before them.

3. Celebrating success

One thing that’s essential to navigating the real world is celebrating successes when it occurs. Job offers, bonuses, positive comments from supervisors, etc… should all be celebrated. Having a positive impression of the working world can help a lot of people find creative and innovative ways to navigate their post-academic life. (READ: 5 Ways to Have a More Successful Second Term).

4. Manipulating goals

It’s important for recent grads to remember that their initial goals are malleable. If a person decides that their original goal might take ten years instead of 2, that’s okay. If they want to change their original goal because a new opportunity has come up unexpectedly, that’s also fine. Both students and post grads find that the things they want most out of life change several times. Trying to stick to one specific set of goals without any flexibility can become overwhelming pretty quickly.

5. Working as part of a community or team

Another thing that recent grads might find different is that the vast majority of their working success will be as part of a team or community within the workplace. As a student, most assignments will have been completed solo and students are graded only on their work. Moving on to working as part of an entire department can have a very different feel. Socializing in the workplace and getting along with all sorts of different personality types will be new at first but it’s one of the most important skills a person will develop as they become successful in their career field.

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