Wow! My second full week at 3H! In the eight days I’ve been here, I have already learned much about building a brand name, marketing, and using social media to interact with your audience. I’ve also learned how similar school and work are, and also how different they are.

First, what’s similar between School and Work?

  • You are always learning. Whether its knowledge or a skill, there is always more you can learn to complete your work more efficiently and effectively.
  • Punctuality is important! Both your teachers and bosses expect their charges to arrive on time.
  • You work is marked! You complete a series of tasks for your supervisor, and then are graded on them; just in a different way: Instead of an “A+” it might be a “Good work, Jones. You aren’t fired… today…” Instead of report cards, there are employee evaluations, but someone is keeping track.
  • It helps to know the smart kid! Whether you’re lost in the curriculum the night before the test or the boss has already explained your duty twice and you still don’t understand, the smart kid, or co-worker, can always help you pull through.
  • Deadlines must be met! You must plan ahead to complete your work by the agreed-upon time or there will be repercussions.

Although the core elements of both school and work may be similar, there are defining differences between the two.

What are the differences between School and Work?

  • You have more responsibility in a workplace. In school, you can have an off day and write an assignment poorly, get a “C” and move on to the next day, where hopefully you do better. At work, you disappoint both the client and the boss, which reflects poorly on the company.The boss now has to take your below-standard contributions into consideration, and may fire you as a result. The stakes are higher, and the repercussions are more serious. This is because there is money on the line with businesses.
  • There’s less subject diversity! In school, you can take a variety of subjects, many which are unrelated. You can take a Spanish class, followed by marine biology, followed by health and fitness. In work, you will likely be limited to one or two fields, with very similar day-to-day tasks to complete. It’s true when they say, “Do what you love,” because you’ll be doing a lot of it!
  • Asking questions: In school, when you have a question about content, even if it’s silly, you raise your hand and ask the teacher. At work, you want to ask your boss as few questions as possible, so that you seem more competent. Google is my best friend—it knows the answers and doesn’t judge by how obvious the answers are.
  • Time spent: Not only is the average workday two hours longer than school, but the lunches are shorter as well. In a standard workday in Ontario, an employee is entitled to a 30 minute meal break every five hours (unpaid) and that’s all. In school, you have an hour long lunch, sometimes longer.
  • Money! At school, you labor with the hopes of attending entrance to a top college or university or, better yet, to get a scholarship. At work, you are paid for your hours, and exemplary work may result in bonuses! Good thing too, since the parents are usually willing to foot the bills once school ends.

What I have learned is that it is important to put a lot of thought into my future career. Doing work is hard – but it can be challenging and even enjoyable when you do something you love.