Co-Op Confessions: Behavior in the Workplace vs. Behavior in the Classroom

by Diana Gebbia

I have now been working at my co-op with New Jersey 101.5 for three weeks. Over the past few weeks, I have learned that behavior in the workplace is different from how you would behave in the classroom.

The first, and probably one of the bigger differences is how you dress. Rolling out of bed, combing your hair and throwing on sweats to go to class with a bagel in your mouth and Starbucks in your hand is a college luxury. Having a co-op requires you to go to an office every day and see a bunch of important people in the field you want to go into. While you don’t have to look like you’re going to the Oscars every day at work, it’s important to appear neat, and in business attire so that you leave a good first impression with everyone. Obviously, looks are not everything and don’t determine what kind of worker you are, but having a clean and professional appearance does make a difference.

Image credit: Victor1558

Timeliness is also an important behavior one should adapt to for the workplace. Although being on time is definitely valued in the classroom and some professors do enforce penalties for lateness, most professors won’t care too much if you walk in at 1:12 p.m. for a 1:10 p.m. class. This kind of behavior is not tolerated in the workplace. A college lecture can still go on whether or not a student shows up. When you are working a job, tasks need to be completed and your coworkers are depending on you to get things finished. If you show up late or don’t show up at all, you are letting people down and are putting more work in the hands of other people. Arriving a few minutes early is a great habit to get into, since you are showing people you care about your job, and you are able to start projects earlier and be more productive.

Some behavior is same in the workplace and the classroom. It is very important for you to be respectful of others and your surroundings in both work and school. If you’re having a bad day, leave your feelings at the door. If you don’t get along with someone particularly well, be cordial and don’t let that affect your work. Be polite and show gratitude to people. People will notice and remember a kind attitude. If you eat or drink something during school or work, clean up after yourself. Although these behavioral traits may seem minor, they actually go a long way.

College is a time for transition. Since the working world is not too far away, it’s important to make small adjustments to our behaviors during our four years at Rider. You never know who is watching and how your attitude can make or break your chances in finding a job.

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