Unless you’re incredibly lucky, your first job likely isn’t your dream job. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be – you don’t want to stay at an entry-level position forever!
But that first job can be so much more than just another item to add to your resume. It’s an awesome opportunity to gain skills and perspective that can really rev up your career journey. Let’s take a look at some of the vital things you can learn:
1. Socializing is Important
It’s crucial to make friends – or at least friendly relationships – with your new colleagues. This isn’t just because getting along with your co-workers will make your job more engaging and enjoyable, although it will, and that’s hardly a small thing!
Co-workers can be a great source of day-to-day company information – what opportunities are available, who’s easy to work with and who’s challenging, what mistakes you can avoid. What’s more, when it comes to raises and promotions, companies don’t only look at your individual performance, but how well you get along with others. If you don’t seem like a team player, you won’t seem like a team leader.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
No one wants to make mistakes, but this is actually one of the best times in your career to risk a few. Your bosses know you’re inexperienced and, at this level, you probably can’t even commit errors that would be truly disastrous to the company.
So, while you should certainly pay attention to your colleagues’ advice on navigating obvious pitfalls, you can also take some chances. You’ll be demonstrating your courage to try new things, your openness to experimentation – and, when some risks don’t pan out, your ability to take responsibility for your mistakes, learn from them, and do better.
3. Work with People You Don’t Like
The working world is likely to expose you to a much wider variety of people than you’ve ever interacted with before, and chances are, you won’t like all of them. That’s okay, you don’t have to like everyone, but a colleague you dislike can be an opportunity.
You’ll get to practice listening, evaluating, and acting fairly, despite your personal feelings. A person you don’t get along with is probably someone very different from you, so you can learn from practices or perspectives you never encountered before – even if you don’t approve of them, you may come to understand them. You just have to be patient and polite. If nothing else, the experience will help you grow as a professional.
4. Save Some Money
You don’t really need to be told that saving money is good, right? 2020 proved that we can’t predict what will happen, and few things help us face the unexpected like money in the bank. Now that you’re earning a regular paycheck, it’s a perfect time to start saving.
All you have to do is pick a percentage of your paycheck to put in a separate account every payday, from 10 to even 50%, depending on how much you feel you can spare. Remember, though, the goal is to establish a savings habit that you can stick to, not an impossible expectation that you’ll give up on by your next payday, because you can’t even treat yourself to an occasional milk tea. Be reasonable, and be good to yourself.
5. Appreciate Routine
You may be dismayed to find that even a job you love can turn into monotonous routine. Even being an astronaut – considered one of the most thrilling jobs in existence – has been described as long periods of boredom, interrupted by moments of extreme terror.
But this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Psychologically, the sameness of routinary work actually helps us to be mentally, emotionally, and physically ready, for the exciting and sometimes terrifying times when change happens, and everything’s up in the air. So you just have to recognize that there’s value in both the crazy times and the calm ones. Solid careers, companies, and lives are built on security and stability.
6. Go Beyond Your Job Description
Your job description should outline everything you’re expected to do, in your position – but it hardly encapsulates everything you can do. This isn’t to say you should become the office slave, taking on every task no one else wants to be bothered with.
But it’s a great idea to go at least a little beyond what’s asked of you, in big ways or small. If you’re invited to a meeting, for instance, take a minute to do a little research on the topic, so you have something to contribute. Signing up for improvement courses is a terrific way to expand your capabilities and show that you’re eager to learn and do more. This kind of initiative can turn your first job into a serious career stepping stone.
Your first job experience won’t necessarily be ideal, but it’s an ideal opportunity to gain valuable abilities, insight, and experience to further your career path.
Ready to make the most of your first job, in a fun-loving, professional environment? You may be just the person we’re looking for, here at Inspiro! View our current job openings, or contact us for more inquiries. We’re more than happy to help.