You have officially entered the real world. You have that full-time job you’ve been wanting since experiencing the dreaded finals week in college. This time has come for me, and there are some things I wished my post-graduation self would have told my pre-graduation self before I entered the real world. I have learned quite a bit since graduation day.
As a Christian, here’s some advice that I believe will help you with your spiritual walk with Christ while entering the real world. If you are reading this post and not a Christian, I would hope and pray that this would stir your affections to accepting Christ into your life. Some of these tips are usually not being taught in the secularized school system, but will learn by experiencing the real working world and from a relationship with God. Here are my ten pieces of advise, I hope you find them helpful:
10. Start A Savings Plan- We have all experienced it. The dreaded broke years of being a college student and waiting for the day to make a full-time paycheck. It is good having some extra money in your pocket, but start producing some good saving habits NOW! Start a savings plan by taking a certain percentage of money out of your paycheck every pay period, and you will be surprised by how much you have save within a certain time. It is easy to get caught up in the mix of wanting to spend as soon as you get some money in your pocket, but you should begin to learn the importance of saving early. It does not matter how much money you make. If you start a good savings plan early, you will be better off financially than a lot of your coworkers who have been working 10 plus years. One of my financial advisor buddies once told me that a lot of doctors are in poor financial shape due to a lack of handling and saving money. Saving is not fun, but it is definitely an essential part of life that will benefit you in the long run.
A wise youth harvests in the summer,
but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.- Proverbs 10:5
9. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition- Take Care of Your Body- One thing I began to realize during my latter years of college was the importance of taking care of my body. There were days when I lacked energy mentally and physically. I began to realize this was due to poor nutrition and not exercising regularly. Our body is a machine, if you put trash into you will get trash out of it. Your body is the temple of God, and our Lord is serious about taking care of our bodies so that we can glorify him and do his work better. How can you glorify God when you do not have the energy to get up and do anything? Most jobs in the corporate world will have you sitting down for most of the day and many workers develop habits of eating junk food while on the job. You will spend the majority of your time on your job, so this will hurt your body and spiritual life. Try working out for at least 30 minutes a day and eating nutritional while on the job. Watch how much of an impact it will have on your day! Your body, mind and soul will feel so much better!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
8. Show Grace To Others- I have learned that one of the key components of being in the working world is dealing with people. Yep, dealing with people can be difficult, but you must learned how to cope with it when spending the majority of your time under a roof with people who are different from you. The Lord has strategically placed each of us on our jobs for a reason, and I can promise you there will come a time when you will have two options: it will be either to show grace to others or let your flesh get the best of you and tell others how you really feel. We are all sinners, and when you get a bunch of us together, conflict is destined to happen. But you will have the opportunity to show grace to others no matter what the situation is like, and that is when they will see that you are a child of God!
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.- Matthew 5:16
7. Be content- This may be one of the more important tips I can give you because your mind will always find ways on how to be discontent. I think it is a natural inclination for us to find what is wrong with our jobs, instead of just being thankful for having a job. The Lord has given you a job as a means for providing for yourself, and we should glorify him with that. How can God bless us with a job with greater responsibility when you constantly complain on why your role is not good enough? Be content where you are at, and you will be happier.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.- 1 Timonthy 6:6-7
6. Learn To Be A Giver While Young- When Jesus says it is More Blessed to Give Than To Receive, he is saying this for our own good. He is not trying to rob us of anything. Christ is giving you the best financial advice ever. He’s basically saying learn to be a giver, and you will be happier. When you get into accumulating more and more for yourself, you will be miserable because “stuff” is ultimately something that cannot satisfy our souls. But when you give, and see the impact it has on others, it changes you. When you get your first full-time job, you will have more money for yourself. But learn how to give some of it away, and watch how “blessed” it really is.
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”- Acts 20:35
5. More Money Will Not Satisfy- For those entering the workforce, you are likely going to have the opportunity to negotiate what your salary will be. And definitely do not sell yourself short on this, but please realize that more money will not ultimately satisfy. I remember working at Dollar General making minimal wage and thinking “I can’t wait till I am able to make more money and everything will just be fine.” I make more money now, but I still find my flesh still wanting more. This is why Jesus talks more about money than any topic in the Gospels. He knows that more money can be very alluring, and it’s a scary thought that some have even wandered away from the faith because of it(1 Timonthy 6:10). There’s nothing wrong with making more money or getting a raise, but pursuing a relationship with Jesus will be more satisfying. John Rockerfeller, one of the richest men ever, was once asked how much money will be enough. He responded by famously saying “only a dollar more.”
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money- Matthew 6:24
4. Always Be A Learner- One of the best things you can do for yourself after graduation is to never stop learning. Most people believe that learning stops when graduation is over. This is a lie! Heck, I still have homework from my job. Acquire knowledge for yourself, develop a habit of reading books and turn off Netflixs for just a second (Not saying give it up). Most people do not read books, but I promise that you will be miles ahead of your competition if you learn to just read and acquire more knowledge for yourself. One of the first things my mentor always asks me when I speak to them is “So Jeremy, what are you currently reading?” Your education is very important, but self education can be just as valuable.
Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.- Proverbs 18:15
3. Acquire Wisdom- This one ties in with the 4th tip I listed. Knowledge is a great asset to have, but it alone will not be enough in this world. The real world is hard, and there’s a gift that God can give us to endure. That gift is wisdom, and true wisdom comes from God. One of the biggest myths is that education will solve all the crisis we have in the world today. But if that’s the case, then why are we, particularly America, still stuck in the same situations that we are in? It is because the world lacks true wisdom, this alone comes from God. If you are a child of God, all you have to do is ask him, and he will give it to you (James 1:5). Ask for this gift, and watch how your perspective in this broken world will change.
If you prize wisdom, she will make you great.
Embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will place a lovely wreath on your head;
she will present you with a beautiful crown.”- Proverbs 4:8-9
2. Establish Relationships and build a team
We have all heard the quote “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” I did not realize how important this is until I began looking for a job. It is very difficult to accomplish anything in this world alone. Jesus took disciples that seemed inadequate to the world and lead them to be the most influential men this world has ever seen.
Learn to network and establish relationships with people. This is not to take anything away from making good grades in college. But I believe a lot of employers would rather have a person who has established relationships and experience in their industry, rather than having a person with straight A’s, no established relationships and zero experience. Establish strong relationships in college now with internships and networking events. Let them see the God in you!
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
1. Work Hard, Work Hard, Work Hard– God has given his children permission to work hard at whatever they do. God himself is a hard worker, and as his image barriers, we are to do the same. When he created the Earth and the heavens, scripture says that he rejoiced in his work. God desires the same with us as well. Yeah, our job situation may not be ideal. But we will glorify our Father more if we work hard on our jobs. Work is good for us, and there is a sense of self-fulfillment that comes when you come home and know you put in hard work. Here’s the good news, scripture says that an eternal reward is coming just because we glorified God by working hard on our jobs!
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.- Colossians 3:23-24