Our time spent in post-secondary institutions is special. Its a time of not only self-discovery, but a time to grow confident in our abilities. A time to reflect back on our high school days and re-strategize the image we project to society. A time to grow confident in our abilities, having the chance to specialize and hone in our interests. It is an environment where making mistakes and taking risks are the cornerstones of discovery and development. It is the sandbox to adulthood. University is an environment where a portion of our cohorts think and behave the same, while another challenges us to think and redefine our understandings. This has the potential to pave the way for friendship lasting a lifetime. Since my graduation, I was invited to two alumni events, and it's astonishing to see folks re-connect over the minuscule details of a night out over a decade ago. My university experience is undoubtedly one of the most treasured experiences I carry with me to this day.
My experience was nothing less than a thrilling adventure with a side of life skills that I wouldn't trade for the world. My role as a VP then President of the Ryerson Commerce Society gave me the opportunity to travel coast to coast and meet some of the most incredible people who shared a genuine vested interest in their schools. Many of whom I have the privilege of calling friends. In addition I was able to work alongside a high output team which was the driving force behind our society being awarded the best performing in the 2013 term. Nonetheless, there comes a time where we pass the torch to our successors and embark enthusiastically to the next stage.
The adventure eventually had come to an end, and a new era of reality was about to set in, and nothing could have prepared me for it.
From being the visible voice of over 8500 business students, to a cubicle tucked away in a corner, siloed by never ending spreadsheets and an environment where innovative thinking meant unnecessary risk. I felt worthless & underutilized. My once energetic personality was morphing into an anxious and apprehensive demeanor that my conscious despised. The worst part; the determination and hunger that once was my strong suit was now slowly being choked out. I felt like my ship had hit an iceberg, and as its captain I stood still, uninspired to save it. The old me would have been different. In a mere 6 months, I had gone from hero to zero.
The helping hand came from my family, friends and mentors. Without them, I would still be in the grave I dug.
The transition between post secondary to the working world is not easy. Some are unfazed by it, some choose to ignore it, while others with similar extra-curricular experiences like mine find it grueling, as the change is so drastic. Either way, there is a time where we step into the adulthood and reminisce of the days of the past, where freedom and risks was plentiful.
The Importance of Culture
Culture is an incredibly complex and important factor to an organization, as it is the linkage with its people. Culture makes the heart of an organization beat. Without its people lack ambition in their daily work. It is the reason why certain organizations thrive while others experience turn-over. It is what most of us transitioning out of post secondary miss the most. A culture where collaboration, innovative thinking, and calculated risks are the norm.
I was incredibly lucky to have a great deal of support from those around me. They lit my spirits at times where I felt the darkest. My heart knew that something was off about the previous culture I was entrenched in since the first week. It was a warning sign that I chose to overlook, but I shouldn't have. It was the great people around me that believed in me when I didn't. They were the catalyst and motivation for me find a culture that fit my values.
Never Overlook Your Values
The transition is hard because the business world is as diverse as the people in it. This makes culture a critical factor of an organization, and why people choose to make careers in some and jobs in others. Know your values, and know them well before picking an organization to build a career. The alignment of your values and organizational culture is the driving force behind motivation and hunger to move forward. And great organizations and leaders within them, want that. They want motivated talent to advance and carry on the work and legacy of the predecessors and the company. An interview is just as important to find what you want as it is to find the right candidate for the employer. I would tell my younger self from a year ago to never forget this principle.