Future – training – everyday work
“But that won’t work later!” “You come to work first!” “You’ll look around quite a bit!” – Everyone gets to hear typical “adult sayings” like this one. But what about the alleged seriousness of working life? Is it really changing that much? We did the check.
times and breaks
From school you know fixed timetables, constant study and break times and binding daily schedules. You start at 8 a.m. and you know exactly when school is out. Already during the training and at the latest afterwards, when you have arrived in the “normal everyday work”, it can look completely different. The working hours depend on the industry, the company and your specific job. In gastronomy or as an event technician, for example, you also and especially have to work on weekends and even public holidays; as a nurse this involves night work and if you work in retail you often start later and maybe work until 8pm. If there is shift work or changing schedules, the working hours can also vary happily. The probability is therefore quite high that you will get used to a completely different rhythm.
You will also be able to say goodbye to the majority of the fixed breaks. Of course, there are legally prescribed break times – but they are far removed from the short and long breaks every 45 or 90 minutes that you know from school. There is usually a 30-minute lunch break for every eight hours of work. And when exactly you take it depends on your daily schedule and schedule. “Boss, I have to meet so will leave for meeting, it’s lunchtime!” rarely does well. Incidentally, the same usually applies to the end of the working day – flexibility is the order of the day. The number of hours you are supposed to work per week is contractually stipulated, but if something needs to be completed urgently, there will be overtime. And if you’re “in the flow” after work, you might want to do it a little longer to use the momentum and get something done quickly.
freedom and responsibility
You know performance-bringing mainly from oral work and exams, i.e., primarily in connection with grades. In day-to-day work, it’s often a completely different matter, for example when you use expensive materials or equipment or when you have to land a potential major customer with a long-prepared presentation. A lot of performance is also expected of you in other respects – and as consistently as possible. Regularly just serving your time, drinking more coffee than actively working and simply not wanting to attract negative attention rarely inspires bosses.
In many areas you have much more freedom of choice than you currently have at school. You decide what training you want to do or what you want to study – and thus what profession you want to take up. You also make a conscious decision in favour of the company you work for. And you have further development opportunities: You can specialise, advance in your job or reorient yourself again. It’s a different situation than at school, where you can hardly choose your classmates and teachers, for example, and have to “go through the compulsory program” for 12 years.
The small, big catch is that more freedom of choice also means more personal responsibility. Nobody will do the planning and decision-making for you anymore; you have to think long-term yourself, make the right plans and then take care of them accordingly. You can work more independently, but you also have to organize your time correctly yourself – timetables that tell you what you have to do and when are history.
Your superiors will probably also be less pedagogical than your teachers, in other words: initiative is the order of the day. For example, if you need more information, help or support, you must ask for it. In general, little is done for you in your day-to-day work – it is your job to become active, show initiative and find solutions.
hierarchies and structures
You know clear conditions from school: the teacher should be the authority figure; you learn on an equal footing with your classmates. In everyday work there are usually much more complex hierarchies – both obvious and hidden. For example, there are the managing directors, department heads and team leaders who have something to say to you. But there can also be hierarchies within a department, for example with a view to senior or particularly specialized or expert colleagues.
Finding out how the hierarchies work, where you stand and what unwritten rules there might be for working together can be pretty tricky and usually takes a long time. But it is important in any case, because in everyday work there is usually much more focus on teamwork than at school. You can now easily avoid classmates you love as much as toothache. At work, you will somehow have to come to terms with your colleagues so that you can work together.
Rroutine and vacation
You know your regular routine from school: lessons in the classroom with alternating learning and working phases, breaks, homework. Depending on the job you choose, a typical workday might look very different. Maybe you work in the field and drive from one on-site appointment to the next. Maybe you work as a project manager and keep finding yourself in completely new areas of responsibility. Or you have customers every day and therefore a wide variety of people with a wide variety of concerns around you. Maybe there are fixed processes, but maybe no day is like the other – in any case, flexibility and continuous learning are required.
By the way, you can then enjoy the many changes with their advantages and disadvantages on significantly more days of the year, because the generous school holidays are of course clearly a thing of the past. With 30 days of vacation (about six weeks) a year (!) you’re already good to go. When these days are used up, vacation days are just normal working days for you. What could comfort you: You can also take your vacation outside of the holiday season in the off-season and thus travel much cheaper. And as an employee, you will continue to be paid even when you are on vacation – there’s something in it for you.