Your first job is a milestone. You get a real paycheck, you start a career, and you start on the grand adventure called life. It will be a learning experience. You may not get the salary of your dreams, and it may feel daunting to learn the ropes, but your first job can teach you many things. Whether you are serving up burgers or starting your first office job, learning these five things can make a significant impact, and can help you move from a first job to a successful career.
1. Your job is to make your manager’s life easier. Until you are CEO, your job is to serve your boss. Make sure you support your manager and take on extra projects when possible to show you are willing to go above and beyond. Most importantly, don’t go to your boss with problems. Go with solutions. If you have a situation you need to resolve, brainstorm possible solutions before you visit with your boss.
2. Attitude, manners, and people skills matter. Establishing that you’re a positive employee is incredibly important, especially early on in your role. If you show that you’re driven by solutions, others will look to you for answers and support. If you bring negative energy into the office, you’ll only bring others down and may end up hurting your career in the process. It may sound simple, but don’t forget to use your manners. “Please” and “thank you” can go a very long way in building stronger relationships.
3. Always look for new ways to learn. “Be a sponge and have a thirst for knowledge,” says business coach Tonya Monsef Bunger. Make an effort to learn new skills, take on training opportunities, and develop your hobbies. When you learn something new, you bring even more positive qualities to your skill set, which in turn can help boost your resume.
4. Don’t get discouraged. In any job, problems will arise. Issues are often unavoidable, but how you deal with them can make or break your job performance. It’s okay to feel like things are going less than perfect, but don’t dwell on the challenges. Instead, stay focused and positive, and try to offer solutions to the problem.
5. Know when it’s time to move on. Your first job may not be your dream job. You may not be making much money, you may have tasks you don’t like. All of that is normal. But, if your job is making you miserable and you face every day with stress and anxiety, it may be time to move on. Whether you’re unhappy in your job, you need more income, or it’s just time for a change, make sure you know how to move on.
Most likely, your first job is not going to be your last job. If an opportunity presents itself, go for it. The only way you can grow in your career is to take those opportunities.
What did you learn from your first job? Do you have any words of wisdom for others starting their first job? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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