3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My First Job

Posted: March 23, 2017

Go in prepared for your first job with these three learnings – they apply to everybody but especially to women, who are often taught to do their work and sit quiet!

First jobs are fertile grounds for learning, as one enters the professional world with a blank slate. There are of course those who think they know everything but that is another story (and thankfully, a minority). Women and men joining the workforce definitely need better coaching on how to break away from the years of conditioning that homes, schools and colleges provide.

These are three lessons I learnt at my first job as a fresher. Most freshers, especially women, would have similiar experiences and it is best to be mentally prepared to tackle them head-on. I definitely had these learnings and I am glad that I had mentors who could point it out to me and that I could learn fast.

Sit at the table 

As freshers, many young people have inhibitions and wonder if they are knowledgeable enough to sit at the table or raise their hands for the job. The truth is, no matter how ill-equipped you are, you were hired so that you learn and do the job. Assuming the demeanour associated with your role is part of your role. As a young 22 year old fresher, though I had proved myself multiple times during my internship and sales stints, when I was asked to felicitate the top sales performers at a company meet, I did feel like an imposter. But for the person receiving the award, he was being felicitated for his good performance by a brand manager from the headquarters, and it meant a great deal to him.

Doing your job is never enough

As young girls, we are taught to get good marks and listen to our teachers and promised that we could become golden girls. But in the workplace, it is not enough to just do your job. One needs to ensure that other stakeholders are made aware of your efforts and the results you are gaining; this is a skill set very few people come with. One might get a supportive boss who is in tune with what you bring to the table but that is not always the case. In my first role I was advised to try my hand at ‘Perception Management’; in other words – make sure your work gets noticed.

Get a sponsor

A very valuable piece of advice for people in any stage of their roles (and this is especially true for freshers) is to get a sponsor from your organization. A sponsor would be someone who is higher up in the org, has know how of your work and contributions, and will potentially put forward your name for opportunities and promotions. This is easier said than done, especially for women, as most people at the top are still men. These are definitely barriers that organisations can help you break with the right culture and value systems.

What is 1 single thing you learnt at your first job? I would love to hear from you!

First published here

Top image via Pixabay

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