There aren’t many things that can beat or match the feeling of landing your first job. It’s an accomplishment you can really be proud of, especially if you went through a gruelling application process. Being hired over dozens of other applicants for one of the highly-coveted career opportunities is certainly an achievement you won’t easily forget.
However, even if you already invested a lot of time and energy into getting hired, you need to know that the hard work is just at the beginning. Getting your first job is just the start of a long journey, and if you want to find success in your first stint as an employee, you need to be prepared for everything that comes with being part of the labour force.
As a first-time employee, your mind might already be full of dos and donts… but are you sure all of them are still relevant nowadays?
Here are 5 first job rules that are no longer applicable today, and what to do instead.
1: Asking too many questions makes you look incompetent and unqualified for the job
You may think you can do this by keeping up the appearance of being smart and all-knowing. As such, you avoid asking questions during the orientation, training, and onboarding process even if you’re itching to know a particular detail.
The truth is that no one expects new employees to know everything about their job. As a first-time worker, you will be given time and allowances to learn about the ins and outs of your job. You should never be afraid to ask any question since doing so will not make you look incompetent.
Instead of faking it (which won’t do anything good for you), acknowledge the skills and knowledge of your superiors and colleagues at work and use your first job as a valuable learning experience.
2: To succeed in your first job, you need to set the bar high
Since this is your first job, chances are, you will be more than happy to over-perform. You’ll be missing lunch breaks and work overtime, during the weekends and even when you’re sick, just to show your boss that you’re a dedicated, hard-working employee. These are traits that all employers value, but you need to know that you don’t have to stick to this rule.
The truth is that you won’t fail to impress your boss and colleagues by working really hard. However, you need to set boundaries early on to avoid burnout. The last thing you want to happen on your first job is to experience burnout – this is something that won’t do anything good for your career and may have negative effects on your health as well.
There is nothing wrong with gunning for the employee of the month or year award. But you need to ensure that you achieve the ideal work-life balance and that you don’t make your work your life.
3: You need to focus on impressing your boss and management only
Your supervisor, manager, and the top echelon are responsible for your movements in the corporate ladder. As such, you need to impress them with your good work attitude, skills, and knowledge if you want to keep your job and enjoy promotions and pay raises.
Actually, your colleagues will also play important roles in your success in the corporate world as well. Many companies implement peer reviews and as such, your co-workers will have a say in your success or failure in your job.
If you want to earn the respect of the people you work with, find ways to help or support them. Bringing an attitude of service to your job, especially to your colleagues and customers, is an effective way to develop leadership and gain the support and empathy of your co-workers.
4: You already have a degree, so you can stop investing time and money in learning
To get to where you are now, you spent years in school and a fortune in a course or tuition fees. But now that you have a job, you can enjoy the fruits of your labour and you should just concentrate on earning money and enjoying the perks of being an employee.
But just because you have a Degree it doesn’t mean your education is over. At the very least, try to stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and learn from your colleagues. If you’re aiming for higher positions, getting further education, training, and certifications will help you in achieving your goal.
5: You can take a break from networking
You may think that, since you just landed your first job, you can stop networking. Whether you build your professional network online or through traditional methods – or both, you think you can take a break from doing this and focus on your job.
The truth is that even if you already found success in your job seeking venture, you need to continue building your professional network. This is because having a strong professional network will introduce or open more career opportunities for you.
In addition, networking can help you build and sharpen your skills and stay updated in terms of the latest industry trends and technologies. It will also enable you to find the right mentor so that you can achieve more success in your field or industry.
Landing your first job and keeping it are two different things: if you want to keep your job for a long time and find satisfaction and success in your workplace, you will need to consistently work hard and be flexible. You should also never stop thinking about and planning for your future so that your career won’t suffer any setbacks.