Starting out in your first job or new career

Starting your first job or a new career is a major life milestone. 

It’s been quite a journey to get here - writing a resume and applications, preparing for interviews, keeping your nerves in check… not to mention finding the right job for you.

Congratulations on getting here! This is a great achievement (and you haven’t even started work yet).

If you’re about to start a brand new job, no doubt you have a lot of thoughts running around in your head and perhaps a good dose of nervous excitement.

Here is some guidance on navigating this exciting time.

Embrace the change. This should be your new mindset. Change will be a constant in your life for the next little while. A new day-to-day routine, new people, new things to learn and new challenges. Sometimes it will seem like everything in your life is new and different. Embrace it. This is a new chapter and it’s yours to enjoy.

Work is a habit. Like getting dressed, brushing your teeth or taking the rubbish out. Habits are things we do regularly and routinely. Over time, habits become things we do without thinking much about them. While it may seem like everything is new and different right now, your new job and all the things about it (ie getting ready for work, travelling to work, performing job tasks) will become habits over time.

Attitude is everything. It is human nature to enjoy being around people who are upbeat and happy. Bringing a positive attitude to work will set a great first impression, create a nice energy in your team and workplace and simply make work more enjoyable for you and your teammates.

Be a team player. Almost every job in every industry involves working as part of a team. Make it your business to get to know your new teammates and build relationships with them. Being a helpful team player from day one will set you up for an enjoyable and productive experience in your job.

Ask for feedback. Asking your teammates and manager for feedback on a regular basis is a great way to know how you’re performing and if you’re meeting others’ expectations. While you might have a formal 3 or 6 month probation review, you can ask for feedback in a more informal sense more regularly (ie once a month). Keep a record of feedback and compliments. Having a record of positive feedback is great for your confidence and self-esteem and if you receive any negative feedback, you have an opportunity to work on those areas and keep learning.

Be a sponge. Whether your job is the start of a long-term career, the start of a newly-chosen career or simply a launching pad to other things, it is a learning opportunity. Be open to learning new skills every day. In most cases, you’ll learn from the people around you (sometimes without even realising it!).

Your job isn’t your destiny. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. The important thing here is that even if you can’t see yourself in this job (or career) forever, don’t worry. Take things one step at a time. You don’t need to have your whole working future figured out on day one, in fact most people have many different jobs and careers in their life, so finding the right job for you might not happen with your first job.

Looking for more advice and support? Check out our post Day one/week one in a new job: What you need to know (and do).

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