What you will learn during your first year working.
I am so glad, that my Be-Professional section is getting so much attention, it is a very personal part for me and I am trying to give a lot of tips, that I would have been happy to know earlier.
Here is what I am going to tell you about today: Things, that you will learn during your first year working.
The first year of work is probably one of the most exiting ones. I remember when I first had a full time job and entered the office how it felt. Everything was exiting, even the coffee machine seemed to be exiting ahahah
Then after some weeks it is possible that you arrive at a point where a lot of things are getting normal and where you’ll actually start to have a little insight in how things work. During your first year you will understand, what it means to have an working structure, that there are exact rules in how to fill out documents and that there are a lot more things to the job you’re doing than what you expected. You will learn how to accept failure, how to be overlooked when doing something great and a lot of different things. Of course there are a lot of positive experiences, don’t get me wrong here 😉
Here is what I would have loved to know before I started my first job and what I learned during that exact time:
Listen, when ever you can!
Of course I do not mean to put an ear on to a meeting room when you’re not invited, but I mean more in general during your working day. Especially the first weeks it is important to learn as much as you can.
Try to understand who is good in doing what, listen to things the boss doesn’t like, listen when people try to find solutions to problems or just when they talk about the way things are done. This might seem not important in the moment, but it can help you so much when you’re preparing your first documents or when you have a meeting with your boss. Details can distinguish you from others, because one thing is clear, the moment you enter a company you are no one and you have to prove yourself first.
Don’t put your nose where it doesn’t belong
As important it is to listen to things, that don’t concern you personally, it is important that you don’t overstep yourself here. Listening and commenting on such conversations can bring you to totally different levels. While as a listener you will learn how things work here and how you can react in future conversations or situations, as a commenter you could bring yourself into a situation where people feel threatened by you. This is especially difficult at the very beginning and it could happen, that the people try to mark their area and will talk bad about you, or worst even try to make you bad in front of other colleagues.
Who doesn’t ask will not be given
This is very important. I remember when I was creating my first presentation in an marketing agency, the day of the meeting came up and I did not take place. Someone else did present the work, where I took a big part on creating it and I wasn’t even able to see the reaction to it.
Just try to drop the sentence, that you would love to participate in any kind of meeting when it is possible. There will be a lot of moments where it is not possible, especially in the beginning, but there are others where the person will remember this and will invite you. Of course this rule doesn’t only apply to participate meetings, but also any other moment, where you would like to be part of or have responsibility.
Show that you’re there
At the beginning you might end up in a situation where it is not all clear what your role is in the company, what kind of projects you are working on and what part you are responsible for.
So offer yourself for jobs that need to be done, if you then do something good you will get more responsibility and earn the trust of your co-workers. This doesn’t mean that you should do every type of job, that is to be done, but just, that you should show other people that you are there and that you can do the job.
Always prepare the answer
There are situations, especially in agencies, where a lot of creativity is requested in how to solve problems or work about topics, that don’t belong into your daily responsibility. Most projects are worked in teams and everyone will have a different opinion on how to solve it.
I remember there was a moment where we were trying to solve how to shorten 50 dresses in the cheapest and fastest way possible. A lot of ideas come up, but none of them would have worked. But before you say that the ideas that have came up will not solve the problem try to think of a better solution and present it. It is so much more welcomed to cut out someone else’s idea if you have an actual better solution, than just to do it for the sake of doing it.
Same also goes about presenting solutions or ideas to your co-workers in general. Before you think you are ready to present it, think about the possible questions that could come up and already have an answer ready. This will help you so much in being respected as a professional person as well as in consolidating a proposal.
Don’t take things too personal
That is probably one of the most important things you will have to learn and you won’t even finish learning it after the first year.
Everyone will have a moment when things don’t work out the way they should. This could be a colleague that answers you badly, it could be that your boss criticises you for something that has not been your fault, or that your best work get’s thrown into the trash.
This is not against you! Often reactions have totally different backgrounds and have really nothing to do with you at all! Try to be calm, talk with the people about what just happened and tell them the way you’d prefer to have the conversation happening next time.
It won’t be always fair
There will be moments when you work very hard and will not get any compliments or thank you for it. Sometimes people will get promoted that deserve it less than you and sometimes a person will use your ideas as their own.
This all can and will happen to you at some point. Just don’t let it get to you and try to figure out a solution on how to best solve the issue. You deserve a raise? Ask for it! Your colleague steals your work? Talk to her. There is always a way on how to resolve things, just try to not let it get too close to you and find out a solution for the future. Don’t focus on what happened once now.
If your job although is continuously not satisfying you and your colleagues don’t respect your work, well maybe you are not in the right company or sector, and you should think about looking for a better place to develop your skills.
Something, that you can only learn in a working structure is how important it is to be precise. This is about how to store your work, when you go on holidays, how to write down a to-do list etc.
I think personally that is one of the most important things that you will learn, and because of that I have written a full article about this topic here.
You will never get along with all of them
Maybe you are one of the lucky ones and are getting along perfectly with your boss and all of your colleagues, but it doesn’t always happen like that.
So if there are some people that you are just not getting along with, try to think positive, they feel most probably treatened by you and will be jealous about you success. Just be yourself and ignore who is making your life difficult. I am sure there are other people in your company, that have experienced the same and are thrilled to talk with you about it over lunch 😉
I hope these tips will help you to live your first working experiences a little bit more relaxed and although this is what I have learned it of course is not applicable to all of you.
Do you have experiences different moments? Did you learn something else that you think is very important? Let me know further down!
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