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5 things I learnt in my first REAL job

When I stepped into my very first marketing role I was young, confident (I had a degree) and little naïve. The REAL world is a lot different to what I imagined… suits, coffee, lunches, working on cool campaigns and the like. I quickly learnt (I mean QUICKLY) that life in the corporate world was a little less glamorous and little bit more like hard work, long hours and coffee on the run. I don’t want to burst your bubble, because there was some travel, fun campaigns, that feeling of achievement when you have worked on a successful project and I met some life long friends.

To help you out along the way and so you can learn from my mistakes… here are the top 5 important ‘things’ I learnt from my first REAL job…

  1. Working with different personalities and learning how to manage them. Number one learning from my first role. I worked in a partnership model – this meant, I had different requests and directions coming from every which way. One of my challenges was managing this and how I can stratify each request without pulling my hair out! My advice – taking it on as a challenge and learn how to manage each personality.
  2. Being diplomatic – there is going to be office politics not matter which industry or where you work. My solution for this, being diplomatic and seeing it from each direction. By doing this, you learn to step back and take a bird’s eye view rather than getting sucked into the office chit chat that could potentially be dangerous.
  3. Build relationships. I learnt to develop this very early on as I noticed, you never know when you may need a helping hand, advice or direction. When you first start out in your career, this is very valuable.
  4. Always meet deadlines. This will teach you good work ethic and to never leave until a job is done. My first role required working to very strict deadlines, I never miss one and sometimes this meant working long hard hours. This skill has now lead me to higher, positions as I understand the importance of deadlines and time strict activities. I learnt this in my very week, I went into my managers office at the end of the day to say goodbye and we got to talking about a campaign and he asked me a question that I needed to check, I said my I have turned my computer off and his reply – well, you better load it back up again. That moment I learnt, you never leave before a task is complete.
  5. Never leave an organisation with a sour taste in their mouth – I left my first job to pursue other opportunities and continue to develop my career. I was transparent with this and left with good intentions. After 2 years, I got a phone call from my previous manager asking to fill a role at a higher level. You never know what is around the corner.

I hope this helps when you step out into your career and first real job – remember, it is all experience that you can build, grow and learn from so, enjoy the process.

I would love to hear what you think – please comment below.
Do you have any learnings from your first role? Was it what you expected?