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5 Challenges You Will Face in the Office

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Graduating from college is a scary thing. You’ve just spent many years learning how to party and function perfectly with a hangover. Now that college is over, the problems begin. The fun must stop and your new life as a young professional must begin. You’re starting a new job in a real office where adults work and you have to pretend to be one of them. To prepare you, the Graduate Recruitment Bureau lists five things you’ll have to face at work and how to deal with them:

1. Criticism

Wherever you work, whoever you are, and however flawless and fabulous you appear to be, criticism is going to come your way at some point. Learning how to deal with it is incredibly important. It’s difficult to be criticized for something you feel you worked hard on but if someone senior is telling you they aren’t satisfied, then they are probably right and there could be room for you to improve. Don’t take criticism personally—use it as a tool to get better at what you do. If you get upset or angry, you’re going to come across badly.

2. Asking for a raise

If you’re anything like me, the idea of asking someone senior to you for more money feels very wrong. However, if you feel like you deserve a raise, then there is absolutely no harm in asking. Be prepared to prove why you believe you deserve it and don’t shy away from letting your boss know how much you think you’re worth. Don’t be arrogant about it though, no means no.

3. Office politics

If you’re new to the office, it can take a little time to work out the dynamics of the people who already work there. It is best to try and stay out of office politics as much as you can, but this isn’t always possible. Don’t get involved in bitching or gossiping about colleagues—you’re not in high school anymore, it’s not going to make you popular. Be careful about complaining too much. I know it’s overused advice, but just be yourself, work hard, and (hopefully) the office politics won’t be too much of a struggle for you.

4. Birthdays/babies/weddings/any milestone in any colleagues life

It seems that in the office it’s very important to mark every single occasion in every employee’s life. I’m not even really exaggerating. When you start work, you’ll soon find out what your office’s traditions are. Whether it’s getting a bit of money together to buy a gift or simply signing a card, they will have a tradition. Though it can get a little tiring signing a different card every other day for a complete stranger from accounts, you should participate happily. No matter how politely and reasonably you refuse to sign Paul (who you couldn’t pick out from a line-up) from marketing’s 10th wedding anniversary card, people will think that you are a big killjoy.

5. Working with the enemy

It’s safe to say that when you start working in a new place, you aren’t going to get along with everybody. It’s absolutely fine if not everyone loves you—you’re not Beyoncé. However you do need to learn how to have a productive working relationship with these people. Try not to focus on the things that annoy you about them because you’ll only build these things up in your mind until you can’t see past them. The point is to make working with them as painless as possible. If this means blocking out almost everything they say, then so be it. Just focus on doing your thing and let them do theirs.

Need some advice on how to deal with your particular office challenge? Have you own tip for dealing with these difficulties? Share with us in the comments!

Ask Levo Mentor Binta Brown, associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, her advice for handling office challenges as a newly-minted post-grad!


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As a college senior gearing up for the dreaded 'G' word and entering the real world, these are great tips that I'll take away and remember when I get my first real job.

These are all great tips. I know that my peers and I haven't spent a lot of time in an office environment, so it's really helpful to have someone lay out solutions to these common dilemmas.

Great article/helpful reminders for professionals in ANY stage of their career. I think it is important to acknowledge that we aren't going to necessarily click with everyone in the office, but we have to learn how to communicate effectively with them regardless, and as Frances says, have a "productive working relationship." I also liked the advice about being able to take criticism. It can be hard because often we are our own worst critics, but in these instances if we can take criticism gracefully, we will only be stronger in the long run and more resilient!

These are such great tips for learning to fit in with an office particularly when you've never had a job before!

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