After college life, I spent the next two months at home doing nothing. But my relatives and dad’s friends were so caring that they didn’t want me to do nothing. For them, it was like I was going to spend all my life this way.
So, there I was, looking for my first job. It was one of the most difficult tasks I had ever done. I was shifting from being a dependent child to an independent adult.
After creating the resume, I applied for dozens of jobs. When I was called for the interview, I remember how much excited and nervous I was.
I had cleared the interview and joined the company next week. I had reached the office one hour before the time and waited at the reception. After filling out forms, I was introduced to my teammates and given a laptop and a seat. The environment was filled with click-clacks of keyboards, while the sound of nervousness inside me seemed louder.
As a new guy, it was difficult for me to settle during the first week. Initially, I was given references and articles to read, for learning what I had to write about. Things were boring, and I was feeling lonely already.
But I will never forget the evening when I went out for dinner at the nearby food corner. While having the first byte of food, I knew, from now on, I will be paying for it.
So, here I am sharing the 8 most important things that I learned at my first job.
1. Communicate with everyone
At the office, we used to gather in the pantry to celebrate birthdays. I remember how much uncomfortable I was the first time I had to go there. I came out of the pantry pretending to receive a call and heard some words in the background which included “shy”, “fresher”, etc.
For the first few months, I couldn’t initiate a conversation with anyone. If someone started it, I was in. But with the time, I became comfortable and realized how important it was to communicate with everyone.
When you open up with everyone, it becomes easier to share your ideas without any fear. You can build relationships, look more confident, and easily get suggestions to work on your own skills.
So, after a year, I was the one who ordered the cake for my colleague’s birthday and invited everyone to the pantry.
2. Don’t burn bridges
You might find tough teammates, demanding boss, and difficult colleagues, which can make things challenging for you. But don’t burn the relationship with anyone. You need to respect everyone and learn to manage things.
According to a report by Globoforce, 78% of employees who spend 30-50 hours every week at the office, actually spend more time with coworkers as compared to their families. Thus, the relationships we make at work are central to the quality of our lives.
Sharing an incident from my experience. During the first six-months at the office, I once quarreled with the HR over an ID-card issue. From the next day, I stopped greeting her Good Morning even when we signed-in to office the same time. She complained about it to my manager, who made me understand that it was not right.
Over time, I learned that things will go wrong. You will not agree with some. Others might not agree with you. But don’t burn the bridges. You will need to work together and collaborate on projects.
3. Carry a notepad always
There were numerous things I didn’t know in the start. My manager once told me to include CTA at the end of articles. She also told me that it is Call-To-Action. The word was new to me, but I hadn’t noted it down. It wasn’t a habit then.
The next time she used the same word, I asked her what CTA is. Of course, I got to listen that I don’t pay attention to things and that I was irresponsible.
So, from then, I either carry my laptop or a notepad along, wherever I go in the office.
4. Be open to learning
The first job is the foundation of everyone’s career. There is a lot to learn.
When you are open-minded, you are willing to learn what others think, what their ideas and opinions are, and what’s the right approach. For a while, consider what you think might be wrong or may change your views, and others might know more than you.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask
As mentioned above, there were a lot of things I had no idea about. I didn’t know about SEO, plagiarism, leads, and numerous other things. I was honest on my resume and at the interview, but sometimes I had hesitation in asking things to my team members.
They knew I was a fresher and were always willing to help me clear the doubts. But rather than bothering them for everything, I used to make assumptions. This didn’t help. I did things wrong and learned that it would be better to not hesitate and ask questions.
6. Learn new skills
Apart from sharpening your existing skills, you should also learn new ones. At the workplace, there are always opportunities to keep learning. For example, I worked as a Content Writer, but I also indulged myself in Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
This is the era of digital transformation where technologies, processes, and the way we communicate is rapidly changing. It is critical not only to update your skills but also to learn new ones.
Another example, employees from the marketing team were asked to take Plesk certification, which is a technical course. They did. This helped them learn new skills and add precious certification to their resume. This also widens the knowledge-base.
7. Have patience
Most importantly, I learned the value of patience at my first job.
When I joined the company, I was under the probation period for the first six months. During probation, they don’t give Saturdays off. So, I had to work on Saturdays while others had two days for the weekend.
It was a Thursday when I completed six months. I was happy that I wouldn’t need to work on coming Saturday. But, HR was on two-days leave and I was yet to sign the document of probation completion. On Friday, I chose to call her and ask about it. She said to talk about it on Monday and was furious that I called her up for such a silly thing.
When she came office on Monday, she mutually decided with my manager to extend my probation by a month. I regretted not being patient. I should have waited for another week.
8. Love your work
Working 9 hours a day, I spent more than 45 hours a week at work. If I didn’t enjoy what I did, or if I wasn’t excited and curious about it, then it’s not worth it. I believe that work should be inspiring and engaging. Challenges will always be there, but there will also be endless learning. Love what you do, give your best and enjoy it.
Remember, it is not what you do that matters, it is what you can make of it.
It is important to make the most out of the first job for a solid foundation of your career. I made mistakes, quarreled with some, became friends with others, learned new things, sharpened my skills, and enjoyed what I did.
Hope you liked reading my experience.
Would love to know about your experience as well. Let me know via the comments below or send a message.
Virendra is a passionate reader and writer. He is currently working for two leading IT media portals. This blog is where he shares everything, whether it is a book review, technical article, author interviews, things he has learnt (and still learning). He also writes about his take on this world through unique, helpful and odd stories.