Chapter 43. How to Help Your New Grad Engineer Navigate Work

Kaya Thomas

I started my first full-time job less than a month after I graduated from college. I moved across the country from the East Coast to the Bay Area, feeling ready to join the work world and be a “real” adult. Those first six months were a tough transition that no one prepared me for. Now, a couple of years later, I realized that many managers are often far removed from the transition that most new grads experience in starting their first job. I didn’t know at the time how to communicate my struggles. In this essay, I go over conversations that you can have with your new grad engineer that can help ease their transition and teach them techniques to navigate the work world.

The new grad joining your team has just accomplished a big long-term goal: graduating college. With that under their belt, what’s the next goal that they need to work toward? For some, that new goal might be to become a CTO, vice president, or principal architect, but what are the steps they need to take to get there?

While in school, the steps to graduation are clear: take a certain set of classes, pass them, and you get a diploma. In the work world, things aren’t usually as explicit. As a manager you can have the conversation that helps your new grad set realistic short-term and long-term goals. Ask them what type of impact they would ...

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