You’re finally starting your first professional job and kicking off your career, congratulations! You’ve probably had a few part-time jobs or internships and now you have no idea what to expect from your first real position.
Before you even sign on the dotted line, you’ll want to make sure that everything is in order. Consider having a labor lawyer review your employment contract if you have no experience in what to look for, to avoid any serious unpleasant surprises. Once that’s out of the way, here are a few things you can expect.
That might seem mean, but it’s natural to spend the first few weeks of any new job feeling a little lost and confused. This is normal and you shouldn’t expect too much of yourself in the beginning.
Take a few days to familiarise yourself with the people around you, the environment, and your tasks. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need about what to do, how to do it, when to do it, etc. The more questions you ask, the quicker and easier you’ll get up to speed and start feeling comfortable.
Everyone is going to make slip-ups, and you have to be prepared for this and know how to handle it. If you find yourself making errors early on, have a conversation with your manager and explain where and why you’re struggling.
Admitting that you need help isn’t anything to be ashamed of, and your employers will probably only respect you more for owning up to having a problem and being proactive in addressing it.
Learning as You Go
While your education and training will probably play an important role in your work capabilities, there will also be a lot of on-the-job training happening, whether it’s officially scheduled or not.
No amount of university classes can prepare you entirely for what you’ll be doing in the workforce one day, so you can expect to be doing a lot of learning, unlearning, and relearning when you start working.
This is a trend that will follow you throughout your career. Every new job will come with new challenges and new learning and growth opportunities. Embrace them!
The unfortunate fact is that at some point in your career, you’re going to face issues with a colleague or employer for some reason or another. People are people and sometimes you simply won’t get along with someone. You might have a difference of opinions at work or you might find yourself being treated unfairly.
It’s important that you’re able to handle conflict in the workplace calmly and professionally.
When you’re starting at the bottom, you can expect to have a lot of work to do. You might need to catch up to your colleagues, spend extra time learning the ropes, and maybe even put in extra hours to prove yourself, even if you’re working remotely or on a hybrid schedule.
This is alright, but don’t forget the importance of balance. Make time for rest and don’t allow your employer to abuse your time just because you’re the new kid on the block.