Starting your first adult job is both an intimidating and exciting time in any young persons life. It’s a time to explore your future and make connections in your industry that can last you a lifetime!
As someone who's had a few "adult jobs" in her lifetime, I'd consider myself a semi-expert in adjusting to a new workspace and surviving a - sometimes scary - first day. In order to smooth over your transition from school to full time employment, I've compiled a list of helpful tips on how to survive your first "adult job".
Always be on time.
There's a famous quote that goes: "If you're early you're on time, if you're on time you're late, and if you're late don't show up." I highly suggest living by this rule for the entirety of your new full-time employment - ESPECIALLY on your first day. Being on time is a form of respect towards both your boss and your co-workers. It shows that you value their time just as much as you value your own - adding to a memorable first impression. Set your alarm earlier than usual and consider traffic on your route to work, taking the extra precautions to arrive early will make all the difference.
Arrive with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
Whether you are starting something completely out of your element or exactly in your field of study, it’s so important to keep an open mind and be excited to learn! Take initiative the first week and get to know people around the company - in different departments. In most cases you'll find a variety of people who have different expertise and knowledge on the companies product or services. USE THEIR KNOWLEDGE!! I can't stress this enough, talking with co-workers can give you some great insight that you can apply in your position. Plus, being open and listening to others is also a great way to make friends and mentors in the workplace!
A critical element of getting your new job done and done well is staying informed and asking questions when needed. As a newbie in the work sphere, you’re not expected to know it all, in fact acting like you do - when you really don't - can hinder your performance. The best piece of advice I can give is to always, always, always, ask questions if you need clarification or more insight into a task. Asking will make you more transparent with your boss and ensure your work is being done properly. Just make sure to take note of any answers you get, so you can reference them for late if need be.
Be kind to everyone
This is a no-brainer and a tip that should also be put to use outside of the workplace. To put it simply, no management member or co-worker wants someone on their team who comes off as cocky, conceded or just plain rude. As someone new coming into an already established workplace, it's important to remember that you are replaceable in an organization - so if you’re making someones time at work unpleasant management won't think twice about finding someone else.
As a new hire, kindness will get you the farthest - regardless if you're talking to someone at your level, higher or lower, being kind to everyone will help you get further in your career wise and in everyday life. Not to mention, positive impressions can spur connections, which in any industry will get you far.
Remember - where you start is not where you will end up.
Starting a job that could potentially be the career of your life can be daunting when you think about it - especially when you're not doing what you thought you would be. You might show up your first day and get asked to do a lot of admin work or small tasks that have nothing to do with the job you applied for. The fact of the matter is, sometimes you have to work the small “meaningless” jobs to get to that higher up position and start making some real decisions and money. Small tasks are never overlooked - you just have to keep focused on the long term. When starting your new job, keep in mind that where you start is not where you end up. With hard work, determination, and patience, you'll get to where you want to go.
Remember your boss is human too!
At some point along your time with this new found company, your boss is bound to get stern with you. He/She might ask you to stay late, finish an unruly amount of work before you leave, or give you a deadline that seems almost impossible. Although it may suck at the time - in most cases they're just doing what they were told from higher up in the chain. It's important to remember that they're people too, and although they may get on your nerves sometimes, anything they're telling you to do is a learning curve that you can use for the future.
On the same note however, if it's a recurring pattern of staying late or being assigned way more work than you can handle, ask your boss for some one on one time where you both can talk about your workload bandwidth. Work can be tough but it shouldn't be something you dread going to everyday.
Be open to the fact that this might not be the career for you
Last but not least, when push comes to shove and you find yourself not as enthusiastic about your new job as you thought you would be, it’s okay to admit that maybe this isn’t the career for you. Sometimes we have to go through several jobs before we decide what we truly want from work and ourselves. If you’re unhappy and you’ve only just begun, take time to reflect on what you do and don’t like about your job and see if it’s a career worth staying in. Sometimes knowing what isn’t right for us, leads us to finding what is.
Regardless of where your job takes you in the future it's important to focus on the now. Enjoy your new job and make every moment of it a learning curve. You never know where those skills and experience can take you in the future. With that, I hope these tips helped prepare you to leave that lasting impression and walk in on your first day with your head held high! Good luck!