Tips for Transitioning from Uni into FT Work?

Hey all,

I graduated from uni earlier this year and I’ve landed a job at a bank, starting in a few days. I’d love to learn about any sort of tips or tricks, big or small, that helped you as you transitioned from the uni lifestyle to the full-time work lifestyle.

I’ve heard from some friends that the full-time grind can be quite challenging mentally and physically, at least to start off with, so I’m trying to get as many perspectives as I can to guide me through the transition.

I’ve worked in retail (mostly 1-3 days a week) for a few years and have a bit of internship experience that was unfortunately fully online, so it’s definitely going to be a little daunting to be dressing in business attire on the daily and heading to the city in a building with people much more experienced than me but I’m super excited as well!

I’m eager to read anything that you may have to say, whether it’s about maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, managing a long commute to the city, the dynamics in an office, (legal) ways to reduce tax, things to look out for in my first few days, etc. - literally whatever comes to your mind. Looking forward to reading what you come up with, thanks!

Edit: Any relevant, interesting stories that taught you said tips or tricks are more than welcome, would love to read about people's own experiences


  • +2 votes

    Learn as much as you can, accept and appreciate help when given because it can be rare, especially in a high stress environment. Don't be over-confident because at the end of the day, you're a newbie with little "real" work experience so bide your time and get some experience before trying to throw your weight around. Suss out the culture and politics so you don't accidentally step on a landmine.

    On another note, make sure to find and spend time on your interests and hobbies, so that the full time grind doesn't get you down. Having something to look forward to on the weekend or after work does wonders.


      spend time on your interests and hobbies

      I'm an NBA fan so I won't be able to watch games live anymore since they're all in the daytime :(
      Guess I gotta get used to just watching highlights

      Having something to look forward to on the weekend or after work does wonders.

      True but I've been told there isn't much of the day left by the time you get home
      Any ways to maximise those weeknights?
      Luckily that's somewhat mitigated with the blend of onsite and WFH now


        Try make friends with a higher up that's an NBA fan. During playoffs you might get a free lunch out of them and a chance to watch the game. I worked in big 4 accounting in Canada, one of the partners used to take me to the pub to watch hockey or soccer (sadly it was rare we got to have a beer too).

        For something to look forward to though, record/download/stream/whatever the game after work. It's sometimes hard to avoid hearing or seeing the scores through the day, but a lot of sports fans I've worked with throughout the years have that as their way to unwind at the end of the day, just watch the whole game like normal. It's still the same despite not being "live".

  • +7 votes

    I found work way less stressful then uni. You don't feel guilty for not studying constantly. When it hits 5 you can forget everything until the next day.

    Not much you can do about tax with a salaried office job to tbh.

    You will go through a lot of training over the first few months. Get a notebook and write everything down. It often comes across rude to be playing with a computer/tablet when someone is talking to your, but writing is cool.

    If your are bad with names then whenever you meet someone make sure you get their name, then write down in the notebook who they are.

    • +1 vote

      When it hits 5 you can forget everything until the next day.

      This is a really good point. Learn to compartmentalise. If it’s time to go home/finish the day, do so. Don’t stress after hours about work tasks.


        This "great I'm done by 5 now goodbye" works for the first … Five years? Thereafter there's a bit more hanging over your shoulders

        • +1 vote

          Agreed, but by this stage you're more familiar with the work dynamics and culture. And not all corporations lean into presenteeism - there are (rarer) examples that will look solely at the quality of your work and not at the "so and so is staying back tonight, what a model employee" theatre.


      make sure you get their name, then write down in the notebook who they are

      Names in the notebook is a great idea, thanks
      I'm decent with names but it's always a struggle with the ones that do slip the mind

  • +9 votes

    I never fully appreciated people saying weekends aren't long enough until I started a full time job. I think it's the general lack of spare time you suddenly have that will be the biggest shock. So as the first poster said, have something to look forward to each night or on the weekend. I personally do some form of exercise each night which is my me time.

    As a side note, working in retail I always dreamed of having a job I could sit down all day. Now I sit down all day and wish I could stand up and walk around for half my day.

    • +1 vote

      FT work means you have money on things to do but not enough time to do them


      Now I sit down all day and wish I could stand up and walk around for half my day.

      I definitely am not looking forward to this - as tiring as it was some days to be on my feet for hours, at least it's healthier and more active than staring at a screen
      Gotta watch my posture
      Hopefully I get to walk around a fair amount when I'm in the office

  • +1 vote

    I started with a big 4 bank out of uni as well. What type of position are you in? E.g customer service in branch, call centre, back office etc. What is your aim, e.g any particular area you want to get into in the long run. I can give you some honest opinions after been in the industry for about 10 years now.


      Not sure how to describe it, sorry, but it's in an office rather than in a branch (so not much customer interaction) and it's to do with facilitating lending to businesses with a bit of credit analysis - I guess I'll know exactly what the processes are when I begin.

      I don't have any particular areas that I want to get into in the long term because I don't have enough experience to know exactly what I enjoy yet - hopefully this role is somewhat enjoyable and I'll want to go up in this sector. If it isn't, I'd be eager to explore other avenues as well.

      Always keen for some honest opinions!

      • +4 votes

        Sounds like you are in a middle to back office position with your main stakeholders being internal employees.

        1-6 months: just enjoy yourself, be humble and learn as much as possible. Form a good connection with your peers, I find you always form a strong connection with people that are also first starting off in their career. You will leverage this trust and connection later in your career.

        6-12 months: you should be well settled in the role now and would no doubt know whether you enjoy it. Look around the wider team and gauge the scene. E.g has people being in the same position for a long time? Is there alot of turnover? Are people being promoted internally? If everyone is a dinosaur and has been in the same role for 10+ years, know that you will be stuck in the hierarchy unless they move on. If there is constant movement for high performers, look at your peers that's 1-2 years ahead of you. Have they all gone to become managers etc? This will give you an indication of your own path.

        12-24 months: find a mentor you look up to. I'm not talking about someone that's knows everything about work but never progressed in their career. Find someone that's constantly striving higher even if they don't know everything but knows how to navigate the crowd. Ideally if you form a good connection, the higher your mentor goes they will bring you along the ride. This is how you fast track your career within a bank. Not by applying for 1 role with 50 other candidates.

        24-36 months: if nothing eventuated from the above, you must make a conscious decision to move on. Either internally within the bank or externally to another organisation. Note that alot of people are scared to looking externally but this is the best way for your skills and salary to increase significantly. Even if you like the organisation, by going out for a few years, you can come back to a much higher position and bypass your peers.

        Final notes: you do not get paid for loyalty these days. If the bank need to make their numbers, they won't hesitate to cut headcount. Take each opportunity as it comes whether internal or external. Do not get stuck when you are young. Time is your greatest sacrifice.

        By comparison, I have peers that stayed with the same department for 10 years whereas I jumped around the industry 4 times in the same time. Our salaries are widely different and it is much easier to find another job with a range of experience.

        All the best in your career, hopefully it will be a challenging yet rewarding ride for you.


          Whoops, sorry, I missed this initially :(

          I appreciate all of this advice, thanks heaps! Super helpful

  • +2 votes

    Start salary sacrificing early! When you’re fresh out of uni you’ll feel like you’re rolling in it when you start working full time. You won’t miss $100/week or $100/fortnight but do it the first 10 years of your working like when you’re young & motivated - you’ll thank yourself the last 10 years when you’re over it & wanna retire.

    Keep salary sacrificing into super until you get a mortgage/kids. You won’t notice the lower pay straight outta uni, but you’ll notice it when you start paying extra into mortgage/kids, and will really notice it when you retire.

    • +3 votes

      This one's a bit of a tough one really - do you start putting money into Super or do you start saving money for a deposit to get the said mortgage? Saving that deposit is one of the bigger obstacles in getting a mortgage. Plus bigger the deposit, the less the ongoing mortgage repayments will be. That money in Super, while it gets taxed concessionally and is earning concessional returns, is locked away for many years to come and isn't necessarily available for the "tough" times. Some won't even be lucky enough to eventually access it.

      Having said that, the First Home Saver Scheme in super might be something good to look into though.

      • +1 vote

        you can use the FHSS scheme to do both, It may get legislated out but I significantly doubt it - Gov wants more FHB not less.

        FHSS allows you to save 50k in super and withdraw it (little more complicated than that though..).

        It's awesome!


          I'll do some research on the FHSS, thanks, guys!

    • +5 votes

      Don't hang around people like ^ this guy at the office and you should be fine.


        He does seem like an insider, might be good to know but yes seen to be hanging around may require additional consideration.


          I use to be a corporate spy.

          Oh and also if you're a devout Muslim or Jewish person then don't bother trying to fit into the corporate culture. You're not going to fit in, especially in Australia.


            @Orico: Corporate spies? Haven't heard of this term before, is this a real thing or am I missing a joke?



              is this a real thing or am I missing a joke?

              It is a real thing. I wasn't a real one. I just went around to conferences and expensive events and sussed out what competitors were doing.

  • +3 votes

    I’m eager to read anything that you may have to say, whether it’s about maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, managing a long commute to the city, the dynamics in an office, (legal) ways to reduce tax, things to look out for in my first few days, etc. - literally whatever comes to your mind. Looking forward to reading what you come up with, thanks!

    My tips would be:
    * Make a few friends or work colleagues that you enjoy talking to. They'll really make you feel more positive about work and attending on days when you may not feel like going.
    * Also, try not to overshare unless you're extremely confident they are trusthworthy. You may experience people relaying what you tell them to the wrong person (i.e. Complaining, prying into pay conditions, personal questions etc.)
    * Definitely get your sleep. You'll hear from everyone how they only slept 5-6 hours, drink 3 coffees a day but it's a shit feeling. Day is more enjoyable and you're less likely to dread the boring parts of work if you're rested.

    • +1 vote

      Make a few friends or work colleagues that you enjoy talking to.

      Definitely gonna aim to do this quickly, hopefully I find people with similar interests. At my casual retail job, apart from a handful of people who I enjoyed chatting with for the duration of my shifts, I wasn't really able to make proper friends (the type I would catch up with outside of work). It was probably due to a lack of confidence and also my irregular shifts from being a casual. Hopefully I can take that experience from work and uni as well to connect with my colleagues, I imagine it should be slightly easier this time around, working with them on a daily basis.

      Also, try not to overshare unless you're extremely confident they are trustworthy.

      Good point, I can tend to overshare a little in an effort to make others feel comfortable and, although it hasn't gotten me in any trouble, I should probably reserve it for those who I know to be chill


    landed a job at a bank

    Depends on the type of bank - retail or investment. Investment, expect long hours as standard.

    Expect the unexpected, a lot of what can happen and culture will depend on the department and team you have been assigned to.


      It's a retail bank but I'm in an office rather than in a branch, so not a lot of direct customer interaction. I reckon the hours will be fairly standardised.

      Yep, just gotta hope my team has fun people, I guess!


    Ask lots of questions.

  • +2 votes

    May sound cliche, but, network.

    • Make friends in your immediate team
      Your days will be a LOT more enjoyable when you work with people you get along with, which may require effort at first. Try to speak to people in other areas when you get the chance. Why? Because when you're looking to move on from your current role in a year or two, knowing people in other areas (and especially having friends there) are a huge advantage.
      When I got bored of my role, I had become friends with someone with connections in another team and put in a good word for me.

    • Once you have the hang on the work that you do, do not to cruise.
      Far too many people fall into this trap and end up doing the same thing for years until they get made redundant or get bored.
      Look at what else you can do, e.g. help out colleagues when they have interesting tasks. Ask others what they do. Take it upon yourself to learn and figure things out.
      Then, when you want to put your hand up for other roles that are of more interest, you will already have a head start and something to point to when you make your case.


      Try to speak to people in other areas when you get the chance.

      Definitely gonna try to network early, thanks! I guess it's up to me to make those connections but did you have any tips on icebreakers or ways to draw people into a conversation that's not too dry?

      Obviously during the last few years for me, meeting and talking to new people often started with what people studied at uni and other uni-related things. I anticipate that it's gonna be more challenging in the workplace as it's more likely for there to be an age gap (although, again, I've learnt from my time in retail and have improved in that aspect). Wondering if there's anything that's been almost foolproof when it comes to luring people into a conversation.

  • +4 votes

    When it comes to technical skills and knowledge, anyone can learn it. It's the soft skills that are difficult to master.

    My key thing for the work environment is to treat everyone with respect - whether it's the mailroom guy or intern or the CEO. Most roles have a purpose that keeps the company functioning, therefore, I never look at or assume anyone as "below" or "inferior" to me regardless of the job they do. That simple attitude has helped me build many friendships at over the years. Also, because of that, when I really need to get something done, people are always willing to help.

    During your school, uni days and your life outside of work, you get to choose your friends and who you hang out with. If you didn't like or get along with someone, you could simply not hang out with them. Unfortunately, you don't get the luxury of choice in the workplace, so it'll be good learn how to adapt to the many different types of people you'll meet and situations real quick.


      To add to this, it's the lower workers that often freely give their opinion to others. Besides the human benefit of being nice, it's these lower people that will pump up your tires to others.


        That's interesting, I would've thought that it's the opposite.


      treat everyone with respect

      Really simple but really effective, thanks! Should I expect to be surprised by the number of people who don't treat everyone with that kind of respect or is it pretty commonplace?

      • -1 vote

        Yes. The workplace is filled with miserable, sexually frustrated or pretentious people who lack respect for others. There's a Karen around every corner. Being nice is an easy way to stand out and make friends (although it won't really get you ahead in your career - nice people finish last in the corporate world).

  • +5 votes

    Tips for Transitioning from Uni into FT Work?

    Get up before noon

  • +1 vote

    Welcome to the real world. Forget everything they taught you at uni. and adapt to the new experience as quickly as possible.

    The real world is rarely anything like what the books and lecturers say it should be like. People rarely act they way the theories say they should.


    Oh boy.


    First thing is to remember that you don't really know anything. Regardless of what you learned, the bank will have their own ways of doing things that differ to all the other banks and you're about to learn all of that. Spend as much time learning about the software you use as possible because it will be your life, volunteer to be part of UAT for new software too.

    Best thing about being a guy is you can wear a shirt and chinos every single day and no one will ever care what you look like. Keep an eye out for the CT shirt deals on here and replace the dodgiest looking shirts when sales pop up.

    No one wears a tie anymore. So don't buy more than 2-3.

    If you're working from home, try to separate work from home. Get up every morning at the same time, have a shower, get dressed, have a coffee, brush your hair. Then have a way to stop working at the end of the day. Turn off your computer rather than just let it go to sleep, stop checking emails after a certain time.

    For commutes, audiobooks and podcosts. I tried reading books (I used to be a prolific reader) but I found just letting my eyes unfocus and listening to someone talk is a really relaxing thing on the commute home, I get home pretty refreshed. It's harder at home without having that "unwind" time on the commute so I usually watch an episode of TV, wash the dishes, do something that doesn't involve talking to anyone straight after work. If you're not an extrovert talking to people can become really tiring, the hardest days work I have these days is running training sessions.

    Take a look on the company webpage for what discounts and stuff you get. For example I get discount gym, myki and some computing stuff working at a university right now. Some have giftcard portals that are way better than cashrewards and the like.

    Do some reason about super too, as above salary sacrifice is a good idea but so is finding a good super fund to start with. Consolidate your super from all your previous jobs as well, you'll pay less in fees (can be easily done through the ATO portal).

    Start taking your lunch and making coffee at home in the morning. I could probably afford a house deposit on all the lunches and coffees I've bought over the past 15 years. Do not be that person who cooks fish in the microwave at work though. Seriously, people will actually hate you.


      Pretty comprehensive list, thanks heaps!


    I forgot to add that Human Resources are satan's spawn. They have no moral compass either.


    IMO, FT work is better than Uni for two reasons:

    • Always free and can relax on weekends / weeknights. (No studying, assignments, or part time work)
    • Salary

    You'll get used to the change, and you'll be spending a lot of time at work, so find a job you enjoy.


    Honestly, biggest lesson to learn when starting work is that most corporate places (especially big companies) don't care about your productivity or skill level. Jobs have been set up in a way where most tasks can be done by almost anyone with a hint of knowledge on the subject. This makes it as easy as possible for the business to replace workers if needed.

    Most of your time will be spent attending meetings for the sake of being present, sending emails, pushing around paperwork etc. It's stressful, but if you want to get ahead it's all about playing by the company's culture and reciting their values on a daily basis. Businesses value conformity over competence.

    The full time grind is an adjustment but the biggest tip is to make your office environment as comfortable as possible. Make friends with people at work, have a laugh, bring in your favourite snacks/neck pillow/headphones/books/drinks. Make your office like a mini second home with most things you need accessible at all times. Make it a place where you can accomplish personal tasks or enjoy yourself.

    The biggest mistake is to treat your office like some place you hate being and just not bother trying to optimise it. You'll get burned out quickly.


    Make sure to try and build resilience, and stay positive.

    You can't control other people, but you can control yourself and your work ethic.