After 5 years of studying my first taste of full-time work was a rude awakening. On the first day of my new job, I said to myself over and over “what is this?”. The concept of working in an office was foreign to me. Sitting behind a desk and being delegated to was odd. I almost felt like I was a baby again.
I got through it though and eventually began to just get on with it. However, I also realised that we are taught to read, taught to memorise Pythagoras theorem and how to solve x. Our degrees provide us with the knowledge needed in our fields but nobody thought to teach us how to navigate through the workplace or explains what your first day will be like or what to expect in your first 3 months. I believe that there is a need for this.
This article will cover some of the things I’ve learnt in my journey that can hopefully make yours a little easier or make you realise you’re not alone.
Get your mind right and the rest will follow
Your mindset when starting a new job will be the root of all things, when you’re under pressure, when you are struggling with your workload and when dealing with difficult colleagues. It will get you through challenging times and also help you to remain focused on your goal as well as enabling you to complete the task at hand to the best of your ability.
There are numerous ways to do this, whether affirmations work for you, meditation or getting in that work out before you settle at your desk. Make sure you do it as it is important.
Speak up and speak out
You are worthy of being there and your input is valuable. One mistake I made from the beginning of my working days was being afraid to voice my ideas and opinions as I didn’t deem them worthy. This is the biggest lie that you could tell yourself. You got the job, you’re a member of the team, your voice is as important as anyone else’s. Do not be afraid to speak up when you’re not happy with something. Set the standard of how you want to be treated from the beginning. Do it respectfully but firmly - no one has the right to step all over your or speak in a way that demeans your character.
Get to know your teammates
You don’t need to tell them your life story but after your bed, work is the place you spend the most time and your colleagues are people you see 5 days a week, Being cordial with them will not hurt you, in fact, it’ll be great for morale and also the work environment. Granted there are times when we may be amongst peers that we are not too fond of but kill them with kindness and keep it moving. Having at least one person in the workplace you can have a genuine chat with is such a nice feeling.
Ask for help
Do not be afraid to ask for help, most if not all of your colleagues were where you once were. Your teammates will thank you for it and you save so much time rather than struggling on your own.
When the workday is done let the workday be done
There are exceptions to this rule and there are times when work needs go beyond the standard ‘9-5’ but don’t make it a habit. Respect your working hours and keep precious the time you have to yourself after work. Some workplaces foster an environment of long hours = working hard but this is not the case. If you cannot get your work done or set the pace in the standard working hours and you need to always stay back this may need to be flagged and finding methods to become more efficient during the working day a priority.