Your first real job will likely, or if you are currently working your first real job probably already has, defied many of your expectations. If you went to college, you discovered the classroom can only take you so far. If you did not go to college, your life lessons and experiences can only take you so far. Your first real job will likely push you to your limit, especially if it is a challenging position. This is probably why someone aptly named work work.
So what are some of the lessons in store for you during your first real job? Here is a list of lessons for those who are about to or have recently entered the workforce.
Top 7 Lessons Your First Real Job will Impart Upon You
Lesson 1: Problem Solve
When you start your first real job, your lack of knowledge about how to do anything will be readily apparent to you. It is very important that you try to figure it out on your own. Do not go to those above you and say “I can’t do this because (excuse),” or “I missed the deadline because (excuse).”
Give everything you have in figuring it out. No one cares how difficult something is or the roadblocks that you face as a new employee. Problem-solvers are extremely valuable to a company. Start this reputation as one early. Force it. You may surprise yourself and your superiors.
Lesson 2: Hard Work Is a Good Description
You will likely be surprised by how difficult your first real job will be. If it is a manual labor job, you will be sore, especially your feet. If it is an office job, you realize that time is relative—for time can slow to a snail’s pace.
You will gain profound respect for your parents and relatives that have done the same job for years. Suddenly you will understand that the days of three-month summer vacations are gone for good. You traded summer breaks for a two week vacation, and that is if you are lucky.
Lesson 3: Accruing Skills Takes Time
You have just received one of your first stand-alone responsibilities.You are tasked with writing the company newsletter and speeches for your new company’s CEO.
But, you are confident because writing is one of your strongest suits. Your writing abilities was cited as one of the reasons you beat out other interviewees. However, the first dozen times you submitted your newsletters and speeches for review, they came back to you soaked in red ink. It seemed that every reviewer took a crack at your writing. Their comments were direct and seemingly rude at times. This was not what college papers looked like upon return.
You were angry, resentful.
Then you realized that over time, less your writing came back with fewer and fewer comments. It took time (a long time) to build the skills and develop the voice the company was looking for. You eventually succeeded because you stuck with it. You enhanced your skills.
Lesson 4: Kudos May Be Less Frequent Than Anticipated
There will be plenty of people in your first real job that will not thank you for a job well done. You start to feel underappreciated, invisible. A vital lesson to learn is that not everyone will thank you for a job well done. Some consider good work to be a part of the job and that is what a salary is for.
Lesson 5: Failure Happens
Your grades do not matter. Your elite schooling does not matter. All bets are off. The moment you accept the offer to your first real job, schooling is in the distant past. You may have had a 4.0 in school, but you will not have a 4.0 at your job. You will fail at some point. And when you do, your response to this failure will say a lot to those who are observing. Take all feedback seriously and gracefully. And never make the same mistake twice.
Lesson 6: You Will Be Judged By the Company You Keep
If you take breaks or eat lunch with employees that are known to be gossips, or ones known to have a bad attitude, you will be lumped in with them. It does not matter if you exhibit the same actions or not, this is how it works. Never get associated with the wrong crowd.
Lesson 7: Go Above and Beyond
It becomes quick knowledge for everyone: Are you one of those that does only what is asked of you? Those people can suck the life right out of a company. Become the type of employee people don’t mind approaching with tasks. Become the type of employee people feel confident in that you will always go the extra mile and produce above and beyond what is asked of you. Go to work early, stay late and ask for more work. However, do not skips work breaks or lunch breaks. Over time it will leave an indelible impression on all. Nobody likes those employees who seem to be waiting for 5:00 to arrive.
Intimidated? Don’t Be
There should probably be one more lesson: Don’t be that person that overindulges at the holiday party! These pointers sound overwhelming when placed together in one post, but they will not all be experienced in the first hour of day one. We are meant to adapt and these lessons will unfold at different times. Knowing what to look for will help you as you find your own way.
Millions have successfully done it before you. Now it is your turn to do it successfully. And that is very exciting.
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