The only advice you'll ever need to succeed at your first job
When I was in college, I used to think that the job search process is the most difficult thing in the world. But then I realized that getting the job was much easier than being successful in it. In today’s job market there is no excuse for failure; you need to differentiate yourself by every means possible if you want to keep your job and become a recognized expert in your field.
I have been working at my first job for almost two years now, and as a non-experienced individual, I found it really hard to stay motivated and focused during my first months at work. Although I hadn’t spent a lot of time in this job, there were so many valuable lessons that I learned in a relatively short period of time.
Below are 5 lessons to help you succeed in your first job and make a smooth transition from college to career:
1. Love what you do
The key to excel at your job is to love it! We’ve been told that in order to live happily, we must keep looking for that ideal job. But the truth is that there is no perfect job; we need to adapt ourselves to anything we do. As a fresh graduate, if you get a really good – but low-paid – job offer, go for it! The experience you’ll gain is much more important than the money you’ll get. Or maybe you’ll get an offer in a different field. In this case, don’t hesitate to accept it. Who knows? It is possible that you will find your passion in a totally different field. In fact, passion may change with the different stages of life; the things we were passionate about when we were young could change as we age. When I was at school, for example, I used to love scientific subjects and I thought that I’ll be working in that field, but then I studied literature at college and I ended up working in the same field. With time, I realized that I had so much passion for languages!
2. Never lose your drive and ambition
The first year of your career can be extremely overwhelming; you will probably face many problems and challenges that can negatively affect your personal wellness and job satisfaction. Remember, not every day is going to be a good day. You may feel lost or sad at times, but it is important not to let your challenges get the best of you. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go your way and find ways to always stay motivated and productive. Yes, you can’t control everything around you, but you can manage stress and use it to your advantage. It can be useful to have a mentor who is more experienced. Look for someone you truly respect and has the kind of life you’d like to have.
3. Be flexible
As a fresh graduate, you may be asked to do tasks that aren’t really related to your job. Don’t hesitate to take risks and try new things. In fact, those tasks could benefit you in ways that you may not even realize. No experience is ever wasted; you may discover some hidden skills or talents you never thought you had. On the other hand, you should also learn when to say ‘no’ to a task when required. As a fresh graduate, you may find it hard to say no – especially to your boss. But in truth, your manager will understand your assertiveness. Good news is, 7 in 10 professionals across the region feel comfortable enough to voice their opinion to their managers, as per the Bayt.com ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA‘ poll, April 2014.
4. Keep asking questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if they seem stupid to you. Remember you are just getting started in your career and you don’t have any work experience. But don’t be overly needy. Avoid leaning on your manager for every little thing and try to figure things out on your own. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and don’t repeat them again.
5. Be respectful and kind to everyone
Respect is the most important asset that differentiates professionals from non-professionals. Make sure to maintain good relationships with your managers and colleagues and take the initiative to help others when needed. Be generous with “thank you” and “I’m sorry”. Showing gratitude is the simplest way to feel better. It will not only lead to great work relationships but it will also increase productivity and efficiency at work.
Finally, make sure you separate your personal life from work and only allow the professional you to come to office every day!
What about you? What lessons did you learn in your first job?
This article first appeared on bayt.com.
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