I am so delighted to have Sarah Bown pop-in for a guest post for you – not only do I love her writing style, she is super engaging and just so right! Anyone wanting to know how to deal with the realities of your first job… this one is for you.
Starting a new job is a melting pot of emotions.
You’re nervous but stoked to actually have a job that pays you money. You spent a week selecting the perfect outfit and you have memorised your bus route to get there.
So what should you expect? Here are my top three realities you will face in your first job and what to do about them.
1. You will be the bottom of the food chain
The first to be given the photocopying, the first to shout after work drinks and the last to be told anything. This isn’t university, you gotta start from the bottom and strap on your climbing shoes.
Yes the bottom of the ladder is cold and dark and kinda smells but this is the perfect place for one thing: mistakes. Mistakes are essential to the development of any 20 something’s career and this is the best time to make them, when your down a dark hole and only a few people will notice. Climbing up the rungs of your career will not only get you smell free but will also put you in the spotlight the higher and higher you climb. Do yourself a favour and make all of your f**k ups now. You will want to learn from them later when the eyes of the Executive Board are on you.
2. You have to go every day. For 8 hours
My average day at university was 4 hours. Maybe 5 or 6 and then 14hrs before final exams. This did not prepare me AT ALL for the physical and mental stamina it takes getting your butt through a full working week. The first few weeks, I walked around in a daze, confused about how to keep this up for 40 years and spending nights eating microwaved food and going to bed at 8:00pm.
The flip side of this employment train that never seems to stop? It is preparing you for when you’ll need to stay behind 3 hours to meet that deadline or close that deal. It will give you a background in work ethic that is arsenal for shooting up the career ladder. I’m not suggesting the best 20 something workers stay back 4 hours every night, but it take GUTS to advance your career and a good work ethic certainly helps.
3. Virtually nothing of what you learnt at university is useful
This came to me as an epiphany when I first started work and realised I knew pretty much nothing. Luckily, I had done some work experience and internships during university, because the theoretical aspects taught me next to nothing. The real world is very different outside of the classroom and this can be overwhelming and kick your confidence in the balls (as if you weren’t feeling scared enough being the newbie!).
Here is the good news though, you will never reach a point in your career where you know less. Once you have mastered some key skills, things seem more manageable. Of course you will be constantly tackling new obstacles, but with a foundation of essential knowledge, things flow a lot easier and you will be more confident. I promise!
Have you encountered any of these realities in your first job? Was there a different one that struck you the most? Let me know in the comments below!
Author | Sarah Bown | signedbysez
When she’s not rating the cuteness of passing cats or devouring the entire self help section Sarah is guiding 20 something women to embrace their decade with a little confidence and a lot of sass. Join the community, with a side of style and sarcasm over at signedbysez