Getting your first real job is a life changing event. College and grad school might have been challenging, but that experience is nothing compared to what a job entails. If you thought your learning days were behind you, think again. Starting at a first job means you’re going to be figuring out new things, from learning how to make your emails sound professional to using acronyms in your company. Fear not. We have some advice that will make it all less overwhelming.
Digital Is A Big Deal
In more ways than one. You know all about the digital economy, and if you’re entering the work force for the first time, then you’re most likely a digital native. You already know the basics of social media, understand what mobile means and back everything up on the cloud. On the flipside, you probably have a Facebook page filled with party pictures, and a Snapchat you’re constantly updating. In today’s working world, employers conduct social media searches as a matter of rote. Before you start applying for jobs, do a social media clean sweep. Make your pictures private, and present an online persona that matches your professional one. And of course, never post anything regarding your company or colleagues online. People have been fired for less.
You’ll Work Through Lunchtime
Lunchtime is not a given privilege in the workplace. Now, I’m not saying you’ll work all day until it’s time to go home. I’m saying that there will be times you’ll work through lunch, and be able to take a break later. Depending on your job, lunch might not be an hour, more like 30 minutes. You’ll get used to eating quickly, and getting back on the job.
The people who really thrive in their careers are the ones who go the extra mile without being asked or reminded. In an adult work place, it is up to you to figure out what needs to be done and do it without anyone holding your hand. Don’t be shy about asking for advice from longer term employees either. That is also part of taking initiative, and no one will think less of you for doing so.
You Will Make Mistakes
On the other hand, you will make mistakes. And that’s ok. A large part of working is learning on the job. Theory doesn’t really prepare you for practice. Understand that you will make errors. And when you do, go ahead and own up to it, and fix it whenever you can. You’ll get a lot of respect that way, than if you deny knowledge or culpability.
Attitude Is Everything
Attitude outweighs almost everything you do at work. The results that you get and how hard you work is important, but don’t underestimate the significance of a good attitude. Often that can determine how successful you are. It may seem obvious, but don’t be rude to clients, grumpy on the job or unenthusiastic about taking on new responsibilities and opportunities. Your attitude makes a huge difference to how people perceive you.
You Learn On The Job
It’s only normal and natural to feel a bit nervous and anxious when you start a new job (especially your very first one!). You won’t know what to do in every single situation that you find yourself in. But the truth is that with most jobs, you learn the bulk of it while you’re there. Within a few months, most of the things you’re worried about will become second nature, and you’ll feel a lot more confident. Be confident, but understand that while you should be as prepared as you can you just need to jump into the deep end. You’ll figure out the rest.
You Will Hate Your Job Sometimes
Since you’re going to be spending so much time working, it’s super important to actually enjoy your job. But it’s very rare to love your job 100% of the time. Even with the best jobs, you’ll find that there are hours, days or even weeks when you loathe it. There might be a particular client that you’re working with who’s driving you insane, or a temporary project that’s stressing you out because you find it so difficult. These things happen all the time, so just be prepared! It doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong job, it only means that everything is normal.
The First Steady Pay Checks Are Amazing
Ready for some good news? You know of course that you’ll be getting a regular income, but you won’t appreciate it until it arrives. Some people blow their first paycheck on something for themselves, while others get really attached to the money and save it. You’ll love seeing your back account steadily grow.