By Michelle Wanjiku
Your first job is a tie for you to really get to understand how your industry works and gain some relevant experience. More often than not, you will move on from this job after a year or so but the lessons you learn during this time will stay with you.
This is the time you learn how to deal with difficult colleagues, bosses, and clients; you learn time management because you had to be at work on time as opposed to classes where you could even not attend.
These experiences at your first job are very important because they will help shape your career. There are few lessons I took away from the first job that I still use today.
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1. It is okay if it’s not your dream job
“Study hard and when you finish you will get a good job.” How many times did you hear this throughout your schooling years? Because of such statements, a lot of people tend to think that after you finish university, the first job you get will be your dream job.
In reality though, even though you know you want to work in a certain industry or field, as a fresh graduate you probably still don’t have a solid idea of what your dream job is or if you already know, you don’t even have the experience to be able to get it.
You need to start somewhere before you can become that CEO you want to be. Your first job may not be the perfect job for you but it is a stepping stone in ensuring you get that dream job. It will also help you decide which career path to take.
2. Showing initiative makes a difference
Getting your first job is the first hurdle the next one is ensuring you experience career growth. It’s obvious that the more effort you put into learning new things, the more skills you gain which will help you get a better job in the future.
You need to be willing to put in extra work if you want a promotion or any sort of career growth. Doing so will also ensure that you have a killer recommendation from your boss that could better your chances of getting your next job.
3. Your self-care should be prioritized
As a student I could survive on just 3 hours of sleep almost every day of the week, this is quite difficult to do when you start working. In order to be productive, you need to be well rested so staying up late every single day is not advisable.
After you start working, you will no longer have as much free time as you used to, this means that don’t have enough time to meet up with all your friends and as a result, your social circle becomes smaller. This is okay and there is no need for you to worry about it.
All you need to do is ensure that you also set time aside for yourself, sleep enough and eat well; this will make you happier and more productive at work which is what will improve your chances of growth.
4. You don’t have to stick to the plan you made for yourself
I don’t know about you but when I finished university I had a solid plan for where I wanted my career to go, complete with milestones for various ages.
After I started working I quickly realized that the plan needed to change. I had no idea what my job would actually entail and it was only after experiencing it that I was able to make informed decisions on my career.
You should not be afraid to change your career plans if you feel like there is something better elsewhere. It’s better to do it at the beginning of your career than to start changing it 15 years later.
5. You will not get along with everyone you work with
Just like in any social setting, you will not be able to get along with each of your colleagues, and this is okay. You just need to ensure that you treat every coworker with respect and don’t go causing trouble.
You should not strive to please everyone because it will only drain your energy and ruin your chances at achieving any kind of success.
Even as an experienced professional, you need to treat every new job like your first job and try to learn as much from the experience as you can. This will ensure that you are always growing because continuous learning is what leads to growth.
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