Let’s see… You just graduated with your BBA or BS in some business concentration, and now your are ready to go pro. Hopefully you are already hired at your first company and are in the thick of learning about the business and how to succeed. Or perhaps, instead, you are an IT or IS professional that is looking to move your career forward. How do you acquire the skills needed to advance?

Spoon, by felixtsao

Spoon, by felixtsao

I hate to break it to you, but your degree did not fully arm you with everything you need to face your new reality. Think of it like this. In high school (or pre-college), you learn that you have to have some level of popularity to survive and get what you want. You don’t have to be homecoming king or queen, but you need to be able to navigate the cruel social constructs your teenage years. Then, when you get to college, you learn of this wonderful meritocracy in which you advance solely based on your contributions to the greater good. It’s such a stark contrast to the previous several years, that you can’t help but believe that you now have control of your entire destiny and that Sally the varsity cheerleader can’t ruin your chances to take Amy to the prom.

Here’s where the glass shatters.

The real world is not like college. It’s like high school with faster cars, better toys, and more expensive alcohol. Put a sales guy that you love to hate with a superior product next to a likable guy with an inferior product that barely meets the minimum requirements. The likable guy gets the deal almost every time.

Forgive me for taking you on that short journey, but there is a reason why I did. What your degree didn’t instill in you is the skills that you need in order to survive in corporate America. It’s much more like high school than we all want to admit, but there are things you can do to avoid selling your soul to avoid being passed up by the next big opportunity.

This month, I will be spending some time talking about some of these skills that I have picked up along the way. Now, keep in mind that I’m not the young CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, so take what I have with a grain of salt. I have found that these techniques have helped me and you won’t find them in any of those over-priced text books you bought, sold, or rented.

We’re going to review things like organization, meetings, email, calendars, and finance, arming you with some of the tricks you will need to survive. So stay tuned for Thursday where we learn why boring organization is so critical to surviving corporate America.

This post originally appeared on BrandenWilliams.com.

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