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3 Pieces of Advice I Wish Someone Gave Me Before My First Job

First jobs are intimidating. I remember the night before my first “big girl” job. I was nervous, excited and stressed out to the max. Do people typically feel ready for their first job ever? Cause I sure didn’t. I wasn’t sure if I’d know enough, if I was equipped well enough or if I even wanted the job that I accepted. I couldn’t imagine myself going to the same office and sitting behind the same desk for 40 hours a week. It just felt so daunting.

Do I even need to mention how uncomfortable it is being the new person? You’re about to have a whole bunch of names to learn and no one to sit with at lunch. If you’re currently resonating with everything that I’ve said, please take a deep breath.

This is just the beginning. The journey of adulthood is just getting started, and guess what? It gets better.

Here are three things that I learned at my first 9-5 job.

1. You’re right, it’s going to be awkward…at first

So everyone knows that it sucks being the new person. I’m not going to lie to you, it does here too. You’re about to feel out of place, awkward, antsy and so much more. But let time do it’s thing. Sooner rather than later, you’ll feel like you belong and have a handle on things. Help speed the process along by scheduling meetings or coffee dates with people on a one-to-one basis. It’s way easier speaking to one person than a whole group of them. Don’t shy away from eating at the lunch room or at the communal tables! Branch out to let yourself grow.

It may be hard to speak up or speak out when you’re in the newbie insecure phase. Try your absolute hardest not to let this stop you. In your first few weeks, or months, of working, you are expected to ask a ton of questions. The best part about having a new job is learning. Don’t let the “newbie” feeling prevent you from asking or speaking up about the things you don’t understand.

Speaking up doesn’t just apply to things that you don’t understand. It also applies to the things that you do! It may feel a bit strange to share any ideas or suggestions that you have during the first few weeks of work, but I highly encourage you to do so. Most companies look for new graduates because they want fresh eyes and new ideas on their work. If you think that you have something valuable to contribute, do it.

2. It’s not going to be all gold and glitter like you thought

In the age of rising tech companies, everyone expects their first gig to offer cool benefits like nap rooms, catered lunch and work-from-home days. However, this isn’t always the case. Don’t walk into your new job expecting these perks, it’ll disappoint you if they aren’t available.

Outside of this, many of us aren’t used to waking up at 7 am and using our brains consistently for 8 hours a day. Simply put, it’s a lot. When I first started working, I didn’t want to do anything after work but watch Netflix. I yearned for the days that I had only one class and could take naps between lectures. But give yourself some time to adapt and transition into your new schedule! You’ll be scheduling happy hours with your friends before you know it.

So I’m sorry to report that waking up early isn’t going to be the only bad thing of your job. No matter what job you work, even if it’s your dream job, there’s going to be a few things that you aren’t going to be fond of. Every position comes with tedious tasks. Like everything else in life, your new gig will have pros and cons.

However, don’t be so quick to write off your job. Be patient and look for opportunities that you think you will enjoy. And you guessed it, speak up about them. Talk to your manager or supervisor about what you think you would excel at and other skills that you want to learn. It’s important that you speak up about these things cause your manager can’t read your mind. Vocalize it, vocalize it, vocalize it.

As far as the tedious tasks go, try to find the silver lining. You could be learning a new skill without realizing it! Whether it be time management or organization, every activity comes with some type of lesson.

3. Read up on employee rights

Did you know that as an employee you are given a wide range of rights? There are specific laws that were created in order to protect you and guarantee that you have a safe and healthy work environment. For example, there is a law that regulates how much time you’re given for lunch and breaks depending on how long your shift is. Companies need to provide employees with a minimum wage and a safe work environment that will prevent work injuries.

Before your first day of work, do a bit of reading and learn more about what rights you’re given as an employee. You know what they say, knowledge is power! You can also reach out to your human resources department and ask them to explain anything that you find confusing.

Your first job is a huge accomplishment. It might not be the job that you always dreamed of, but it is the first step to getting there! The transition might be hard and long, but it will be worth it. Don’t forget to look back at all that you’ve done and celebrate your wins. Talk to your coworkers, learn from your manager, and give your all to what you do. Congrats on landing the position, you’re going to do great!

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you find your first job after college? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

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About the Author Amanda Lin

Amanda Lin is a recent graduate of the University of California. She is currently working as a freelance writer for DiMarco Araujo Montevideo. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel and find new restaurants to try. You can follow her on Twitter.

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