If you’re reading this, you’re probably in your first job already or are all set to begin the roller coaster ride of your first job experience. Sure, you may have had your wonderful internship experiences and traineeship but it is not even close to what a real job would be like for you.
The cycle of excitement, fear, fatigue and anxiety are just some of the emotions that you experience as you begin the journey as a professional. The excitement of a new office, workstation, visiting card and simply the thought of being hired for a big-shot company can keep your spirits high for months. But along with that comes the fear of living up to the expectations of the hiring manager. ‘Will I be able to perform?’ or ‘Am I good enough?’ are a few questions that will haunt you once you start working on real projects.
The excitement and fear will vanish as you gradually settle down in this work role and gain more job experience. The day in and day out grind, every day for 5 days a week where each day lasts about 9-10 hours can tire the hell out of you. This is when fatigue and anxiety set in. Did you experience any of it in such magnitude when you were interning? The answer is NO!
A 3-4 week long internship can keep you up and happy but will the same be true for six months? No! This is when you know the difference between a job and something close to a job.
The truth is you will not wind up in your dream job right out of college. It is better to be realistic and know what to expect out of your first job. The lessons learned at first job stay with you forever. So hold on tight to this job.
Here are 10 hard-hitting realities that will come knocking your door once you step into the corporate world.
1. You will need time
Let’s be honest, the first job isn’t a cakewalk. You will need ample time to get a hang of the job before you begin to perform.
You may feel dejected, de-motivated and bored because it may not seem like your cup of tea but don’t lose hope. This isn’t a college assignment where you can be satisfied with a B-Grade. Here performance is vital.
The full assimilation of the new job role will take about 90 days. So be patient!
2. Don’t question your abilities
You may have been a star performer at college but first jobs can prove the opposite. In times where you’re disappointed with yourself, don’t question the genius in you.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Take it easy and remember you’re new to the system. You’re not expected to know it all.
Your first job experience teaches you to fight the odds and shine out victorious. No matter how you’re feeling, walk in the office with a beaming smile and eagerness to learn.
Dressing like a hipster, missing lectures due to over-sleeping may have sailed your boat in college but it won’t help you a lot at work.
Unprofessional behaviour at work can get you fired or even worse, humiliated by your seniors in front of the whole staff.
Professionalism at work not only includes being on time, dressing properly, acting responsibly, working cohesively, it involves being a team member.
Also Read: Dos And Don’ts On Your First Day At Work
4. You won’t be blessed with what you expect
In your first job out of college, you may be asked to do petty jobs, which may seem tedious and boring. However, you won’t be confronted by tough tasks and problems on the first day of your first job.
You should use this time to get to know the inner workings of the organization, industry trends and colleagues.
Excel with tedious work and prove your mettle. Move on to better things because hard work never fails.
5. The new group of friends
All the people’s person, listen up! It’s time for you to play the newbie. The open-plan offices and relaxed work culture have allowed people from different departments to get along and work as one big team.
Your group of same-aged friends no longer exists so you have to befriend slightly older but not creepy colleagues.
Be open to conversations, interactions and out-of-work get-togethers. You may not become BFFs with everyone you meet immediately but embrace the new set of friends.
6. College hasn’t prepared you for everything
Remember that college and office are two different worlds. You may have been a team leader at college amongst your peers but at work, you will be led by seniors, both in age and experience.
Be prepared to take on responsibilities, duties and instructions assigned to you. The lessons learned at first job are remembered better than those taught in the confines of a classroom.
7. Job hunting isn’t easy
The brightest of minds are hit hard by reality when they fail in finding suitable jobs. You might think it will be easy to get a job and enjoy the whole first job experience. However, numerous interviews, meetings and negotiations later you may find a job but it may or may not suit your expectations.
Obtaining a good job offer may be time-consuming, stressful and demoralizing sometimes. Use all your resources, internet and networks to find the right role for you.
Don’t let failure take you down!
8. Don’t be full of yourself
Having a degree from an apex institution or fancy A-Grades don’t promise a job for you.
Chances are that your employer may not even pay the slightest attention to those glorifying 90s and 100s. These may be great selling-points in your favour but not something you can solely rely on to get a job.
Don’t oversell your qualifications; instead, impress them with your initiative and drive. Tell them how you will contribute towards the company’s success.
If you look to gain first job experience on the basis of superficial things and not real merit, then you might never get a chance to grow.
9. Stay positive
Don’t lose your mind if your day 1 or day 100 at the new job doesn’t go as planned. We all make mistakes at work but the lessons learned in the first job stay with us forever.
Take every advice with a pinch of salt. You may have thought you’d kill it at work. Much like Mike Ross from Suits but you could also be Andrea Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada who absolutely does nothing right starting from Day 1.
However, the real deal is that you need to stay faithful and be determined to succeed.
10. Continue to learn
If you’re one of those lucky few who managed to score a ‘real’ job, hold on to it.
You are never too big or intelligent or smart to learn new things. Keep learning new stuff even if you’ve mastered your day-to-day work because you don’t want to be stagnant and outpaced by people who continue to learn and explore better opportunities.
Employers like those who contribute more than their job description. Climb up the corporate ladder with one new skill at a time.
Be patient, act like a sponge during your first few months. Slowly, you will be able to survive the reality of your first job experience without sulking or weeping. You’re a grownup who deserves what they work for.