If you have just finished your studies and are starting your career, this post is for you. We all went through this, and that was my case two years ago. I wanted to share with you my personal experience through a few tips to help you have a good start into professional life.
1. Don’t take things personally
You’re young, you’re done with school and you have energy to spare. This attitude is the right one and will be useful to you during your job interviews. However, you should not take things personally once you start your professional life. Until now, you were more or less in control of your destiny, with the possibility to choose your subjects of study and major. It is important to understand that active life is iterative unlike student life where one continuously progress throughout the years. Indeed, you have learned to study faster and better under pressure as the exams were approaching. Your knowledge has increased over the years you have been studying.
Once you are an employee, you will not choose who you work with. Sometimes you will have tasks to do that will be essential even if you find them time-consuming and uninteresting. This is where you will have to learn to detach yourself from your ego and understand that some things are also done out of obligation. In addition, you may have to work on a specific subject but, depending on the evolution of your company, this project may be set aside or abandoned after a certain time. You must not take it for yourself and bounce back by contributing to other initiatives that will be put in place as a replacement.
2. Be ready to learn
You will also need to be willing to learn and acquire new skills. Indeed, learning does not stop with school. Working life is the beginning of 40+ years of new encounters, experiences and lessons. It matches with your official entry into adulthood and all the responsibilities that come with it. Besides, what you learned at school was still theoretical to some extend. In real life everything does not always applied the way you learned in your classes. Therefore there are many things you will learn on the job. Accepting to question yourself and constructive criticism are essential elements for your mission to be a success. This is also how you will be trusted and given the opportunity to take on new responsibilities and have a career, if that is your wish. So stay curious and often update your skills through continuing professional development and online courses for example.
3. Go to others
Overcoming shyness for those concerned will be a challenge at the beginning of working life. You should not hesitate to reach out to others, be sociable and also listen. It takes effort at first, but don’t worry, you’ll do it without even realizing it after a while. Relationships between colleagues often play a significant role in a person’s development and well-being. Without having to share your private life with everyone, the “hello” in the morning and the little chat at the coffee break make the day much nicer. Remember that in the end, you spend more time with your colleagues than with your own family and friends, so you might as well have a healthy and pleasant relationship with them.
4. Have realistic expectations
Your first job may not necessarily be your best or last one. Does not aim for the “dream job” with only benefits and zero disadvantage. You could start by listing the elements that you consider essential to your well-being and fulfillment at work. Then also note the points on which you would be willing to make concessions. You must make sure that your expectations are realistic and always weigh the pros and cons to get the best outcome and at the same time not be disappointed. An employment contract is concluded between two parties, the employer and the employee, both of whom have rights and duties. So yes, as said before, not everything will be wonderful, but it is also the case in life in general. Having realistic expectations about your working environment makes it much easier to overcome obstacles and unforeseen events.
5. Do not hesitate to communicate
You should not hesitate to give your opinion. Making your contribution and giving ideas by participating in different projects within your company allows you to break with the routine of your job and also meet new people. In this way, you show that you are not only an employee among others but that you also have a rich personality and unique mind that you would like to share with your company. And when you feel stuck, talk to someone you trust, in human resources or to your supervisors even. Communicating helps to unlock situations before they turn into frustrations. Also regularly ask for reports or feedback on your work to make sure you are going in the right direction and make adjustments if necessary.
I hope that these tips will be useful to you and I wish you a good start into professional life!