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It is wonderful to be independent and making your own way in the world as an adult at your first job, and here are a few tips for you to rock it!
Millions of women start their careers everywhere with stars in their eyes. The gush of independent living, the security of a full wallet and the pride of being able to fulfill things for yourselves and your family are few reasons that make young girls aspire to join the corporate ladder.
So, starting on you first job? Here are some tips to make the most of your experience.
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You will take some time to acclimatize to your job and the associate culture at your workplace. However, do not wait for instructions and guidance at every step of the way. Take the initiative to learn more about your team, your organization and your Industry.
No peer or boss is interested in your career progression – learn from them but quickly move into the mode of finding things out for yourself.
How you look matters. But not in the way you think it does. In fact, for most corporate or professional scenarios, the combination of being young, female and appearance obsessed might be counter-intuitive and lead people to dismiss you easily.
Adopt a dressing style which helps you project the requisite image that you job demands. Reserve unsuitable clothing for weekends. Dress well, but remember that you are dressing to work, not working to dress. Again, this is governed by the Industry you are in. When I joined my current organization (a bank) at the age of 20, I had to consciously develop a more mature and sophisticated dressing sense.
You cannot doubt the importance of informal networks at work, but be careful of over-sharing personal details (especially if they pertain to your relationships). In college, you are used to cracking jokes, laughing at innuendos and cribbing about the last guy you went on a date with. Leave these details at the campus you came from.
The best thing about working is the credit to your Savings Account every month.
You are young and you will feel like splurging on expensive cosmetics, good restaurants and buying gifts. I’ll suggest, be careful. You can earn more money by saving and investing than you think possible. Make prudent choices and stay invested. Compound interest is a wonderful thing! Lead a good life but be self aware, to separate needs from wants.
As Einstein said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… he who doesn’t, pays it.”
This might be a controversially held opinion but do not become ‘assistant-ized’. Being a young executive, when combined with the fact that you are a woman, might lead people to push crappy things upon you – organizing birthday party for colleagues, booking meeting rooms etc. Be careful to not do anything that your male colleagues do not do in an equal measure. Avoid plebian activities. Focus energy on more important activities than doing Team Lunches.
Do not let people behave in a condescending manner towards you. I lost count of the number of time that people made comments about my age and said disparaging stuff about my age or tried to push unnecessary burden upon my shoulders. Be fearless – call out the crap, remember that you do not have to believe any story that other people try to shove down your throat. Be firm and respectful.
We all have it tough in some way or the other. Women and men both support men, but women mostly end up with judgement or resentment.
You cannot change other people’s behaviour but respect that your very being in a an organization is equivalent to an act of rebellion in a society where being a woman is easily dismissed and judged as compared to a man.
Take time off to cater to your other interests. Life is short and most of the best things happen out of work. Do not forget your hobbies, family and friends. They will keep you centered as you navigate the rat race without trying to lose your soul.
Image source: young woman at the office by Shutterstock.
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