Entering into your first job can feel a lot like playing a game that no one’s told you the rules to. The good news is that almost everyone feels this way, and while there’s no cheat sheet, there are ways you can prime yourself for success.
Here are a couple of our favourite tips when it comes to ensuring you’re covering all your bases at the beginning of your career:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Too many people enter their first jobs wanting to impress their managers by giving off the illusion they’re up to speed on everything. Here’s the truth: your manager doesn’t expect you to know it all, and asking questions will indicate not only that you’re committed to learning about how things work, it also means you don’t feel caught out when you’re trying to solve a problem without any support.
Asking questions also tends to lead to conversations, so it’ll help expedite the process of making connections with your colleagues as well, as long as you’re being courteous and respectful of their work.
2. Stay open and unafraid of change
It can be tempting to visualise a set path you want your career to go down, and while it’s always good to have a plan, restricting yourself or setting rigid boundaries can actually stop you from growing. It’s only when you start working you begin to get a feel for what you enjoy and what you don’t like. Allow yourself to pursue what drives you, even if it doesn’t fit neatly into your previous ideas of progression.
3. Don’t compare your progress with peers or colleagues
Comparison is the true thief of joy, and along with it, productivity and motivation. It isn’t useful to think about yourself in conjunction with others, not least because every single person has a different route to success.
Work on yourself and what engages you, and take actionable steps on feedback you’re receiving at work to get better. Building on what you’re able to do is a far better approach than focussing on what you can’t do at all.
4. When in doubt, try lending an ear
One of the most undervalued principles of working in an office is the power of listening. If you’re feeling overwhelmed upon joining a new office where there seems to be a lot going on, try taking a step back and observing how things work – you’ll be surprised at how much you’re able to observe, and attention to smaller details that arise from this is going to benefit your performance greatly.
5. Check in with yourself every now and then
It is so easy to get swept up in your daily routine, only to find yourself close to burnout and not really enjoying what you’re doing. Make sure you’re checking in with yourself on a regular basis – consider creating a personal development plan that you can reference and follow up on. This way, you’re able to reflect on what you’re doing and are able to think of concrete steps you can progress.