The Transition from Campus to Corporate Life

May 20, 2019

Contributed by Donna MorrisChief Human Resources Officer & Executive Vice President, Employee Experience

Graduation season is upon us here in the U.S., which means hundreds of thousands of eager University students are preparing to enter the workforce for the first time. At Adobe this Summer, we’ll be opening our doors to 500 interns and 300 new graduates in North America. As the mother of a college senior and the CHRO & EVP of Employee Experience at Adobe, my personal and professional lives are colliding this season with our son graduating from Fordham University.

The combination of my own experience with our son finishing his undergraduate journey and the opportunities I have had to participate with students at college campuses, makes me realize that the transition from college to campus life is one that is a key inflection point that often requires support to navigate. While personal growth and excitement are a part of the journey, it comes with periods of self-doubt, stress, and uncertainty for many. These feelings are common, and I see it first-hand when we welcome a fantastic and diverse set of new graduates and interns to Adobe each Summer.

My son’s graduating class of 2019 at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business

If you’re a new graduate in pursuit of charting a successful career path and shaping the future of the workplace,  there is some excellent news for you. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, new graduates are entering a job market with unemployment near the lowest level in 50 years, and job prospects are up significantly from 2018.

With the current job market being ripe with opportunity, I’d like to share my top advice for all transitioning from campus to corporate life:

  • Appoint your Board of Directors. We often hear about the importance of mentors and sponsors, and this cannot be understated. Throughout your career, you will need to have people who are your champions. These are the folks that inspire you, that challenge you, that treat you with respect and give you honest feedback about your strengths and weaknesses. Building an active community will help guide you towards reaching your career goals, so start building your Board of Directors today.
  • Don’t be motivated by title; be motivated by opportunity. It’s easy to get caught up in the hierarchy of the corporate ladder, especially after investing so much time and money in your education. My advice is to focus on the opportunity itself, the skills you bring to the role, and the skills you will gain from it. Experience is a currency, and the more you have, the more you will earn. Upward mobility is only achievable if you’re continually learning and growing as an employee. Build your skill set, and a great title and rewards will follow.
  • Always declare what you want. Entering the workforce can be intimidating for new graduates. While managers play an essential part in your career path, your success and growth are ultimately up to you, so declare your careers goals and objectives early and often. It’s also important to note that those career goals and objectives will change with time. Keep feedback ongoing with your manager and get comfortable with being vocal in the workplace. Moreover, remember, how you choose to be vocal is just as important as what you choose to be vocal in.
  • Work/Life Balance is a myth. Work/Life Integration is a reality. People are always striving to blend their personal lives and professional lives, but the truth is, you will continuously be at odds with this. For everything, there is a season. You will go through moments in life where driving your career is paramount, and other moments where friends, family, hobbies, and interests are of more importance. Bringing these priorities together is the key. It is essential early on in a career to embrace how your work is a big part of your life, and the more you get joy from your work – it can genuinely radiate positivity on other parts of your life.
  • Embrace your unique self. No one in this world has precisely the same qualities, experience, knowledge, or perspective as you. You as an individual have so much to offer and what makes you unique is your superpower. The current business environment needs a diverse set of opinions and ideas. Embracing what makes us unique is what will drive us forward. Amplify your special something that makes you unique–don’t diminish it.

It is a proud moment being part of a transition from campus to career, and fortunately– I get to experience it personally through our son and year after year with new grads joining Adobe, where we were ranked # 1 on Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers for New Graduates” in 2018.

As we welcome new graduates to Adobe this year, I’m also proud to announce that we are launching a fantastic Learning Fund Education Reimbursement benefit for new graduates who have been recently hired in the U.S. The $10,000 reimbursement benefit is being offered to assist with the high cost of education and the burden of student loans.

To all those in the Class of 2019 warmest congratulations!  You each have an incredible opportunity to shape your career experience.