Money & Career
Five Tips to Help You Love Your First Job
6/1/2019 1:00:00 PM

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Getting that first job is a big accomplishment as it gives financial sustenance and the opportunity to make your mark in the working world.  A lot of time and effort is put into getting the job, and the interview advice can be rampant. Advice runs the gamut of how to format your resume, to what suit to wear. This is all very helpful, but what happens when you actually get the job? Your first job is typically full of unchartered territory and can throw curve balls full of unexpected situations. These situations aren’t something your college courses prepare you for, but real life will.
 
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your first job:
 
1. Pick Your Clique. When starting a first job, realize that you are walking into an already-established work culture. While you may be in training and learning about the tasks of your job, you will also be learning about the new personalities around you and inner office dynamics. This can be a bit of a shock, especially as the office gossip unfolds and the culture reveals itself. As you get to know your new work environment, you will find co-workers who are positive and can be an asset to you, and you will find those who are negative and bring you down. Avoid the latter. Don’t get sucked into those who love misery or talk about what the new sales director had on that day. Surround yourself with those who lead by example and bring positivity and support to your new world. Then in time, pay it forward by doing the same for other incoming employees.
 
2. Engage Yourself Quickly. Even though you may have already gotten the job, you can quickly create a name for yourself by proactively setting up meetings with different people in the organization. This shows that you are trying to integrate yourself and you have a genuine interest in them and how they contribute to the bigger picture. Plus, these new relationships can be your foundation, and these people could be the same ones to help you in a new project or even just be a resource while you grow in your new role.
 
3. Don’t be afraid to call out bad behavior. This may feel a little intimidating at first, especially being a new employee, but in our #metoo world, we have to be open to calling out bad behavior. If you encounter something that makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to report it. 
 
4. What if you don’t get the job? Like everyone says, finding a job is a job. We put a lot of energy, time and emotion into finding the right work place for us. We immerse and invest ourselves into something that hasn’t happened in blind faith that we could be chosen. We are hopeful, excited, and become emotionally involved. So you may ask, after all of this, "What if I don’t get it? How do I handle it?” If you aren’t hired, don’t beat yourself up. In the interview process, you most likely learned a lot and made a lot of new connections – which in itself is valuable. You never know what can happen in the future, and your paths could cross again.
 
5. Work the totem pole. We all strive for success and we especially want it immediately! However, know that it will take a good 10-12 months in your new job to find your groove and feel confident in what you are doing. You will have big wins and major mistakes along the way, but know it is part of the process called "paying your dues”. Be grateful because no matter how fun or stressful paying your dues can be, you are building new skillsets for yourself that will take you from job to job. In time, working your way up the totem pole will happen and promotions and new roles will appear. Be eager, be patient, and enjoy the climb.
 
Your first job, no matter how long you are there, will always be memorable. During the coming months, you will create the foundation of your career and set yourself on the path for success.
 
Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, visit www.hollycaplan.com and find her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.

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