For new graduates, adjusting to the working world compared to the academic world has proven to be more challenging than expected. In the academic world, you go to class and are expected to have the answers for all of your exams and assignments. In the professional environment, there is no way you could have all of the answers, instead you are expected to “know what you don’t know”.
Not knowing how to handle a challenging situation is not a weakness; the weakness lies in not seeking out those who can help you. It is imperative that you learn this lesson sooner rather than later, or you will set yourself up for failure.
One of the more challenging situations you will find yourself in is the multi-faceted task of project management. Within your agency, you are seen as highly skilled and capable of being a project manager, but sometimes, the clients do not see you the same way. They may perceive you as someone that they do not have to listen to or take seriously. There could be many reasons for this occurrence, but the most obvious is that their title and experience is more significant and/or important than the 6-month “Account Coordinator” or ”Public Relations Assistant”. As a result, when you are tasked with managing a project, it is hard to get those around you to be responsive or to make your project a priority.
This puts you in a position of running out of budget and time, especially when your progression is slowed due to forces that are out of your control. When you find yourself in this situation, do not try and handle this on your own, your project will fail and the client and your boss will be disappointed. Instead, seek out your boss to help you navigate this challenge. Admitting your project is not on the right track is not a failure or weakness on your part, waiting too long to communicate your situation is the failure.
You must remind yourself that you are part of a team that can help you through the challenges you may face and to handle circumstances that may be out of your control, but not theirs. The key is to “know what you don't know” and ask for help when you need it, you will find many more of your projects will be done successfully and you will earn the respect of your colleagues in the process.