Graduation feels like a lifetime ago, but that panic of leaving the comfort of university unemployed and penniless is something I will always remember. When looking for a graduate job, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a graduate scheme. The idea of moving around within a company, or even the country, just didn’t sit well with me. So I chose to knuckle down to the job hunt, spending hours on LinkinIn and Indeed, with the aim of getting myself my first “proper job”.
It’s coming up to just over a year and a half since landing my first job after University. I was incredibly lucky to be accepted at my job around 6 weeks after my graduation, but I know even the job hunting stage can prove tricky for a lot of graduates. I feel that through my job I’ve learnt a heck of a lot in a relatively short space of time. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that my first job has brought me, the lessons I have been exposed to and the personal and professional growth I have undertaken in the last 18 months. So, I thought it might be mildly interesting or perhaps even helpful to share what I’ve learnt in my first job since university.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question
When I first started my job, I was thrown into an industry I didn’t know, with systems and terminology I’d never heard of. It was really scary at first to admit that I didn’t understand, as I was worried my colleagues would think I was a slow learner or not putting the effort in to learn my job, but asking questions is the best way to learn. Your first job is your perfect opportunity to learn as much as you can about anything and everything – you never know what snippet of knowledge you might need in your future career! I also think it shows confidence and good character to admit that something doesn’t make sense, or ask to go over it again to make sure you get it right. You learn more, and your colleagues will see that you are trying to better yourself to ultimately do a good job!
Your colleagues can be your friends
Now I know some people will disagree with me here, but I have personally found it really helpful and super nice to have friendships with the people I work with. In my job, we deal with external clients and sometimes, it can get a little heated. It’s great that I work with people that I trust that I can blow off some steam with at the end of a bad day – and know that they will support me both personally and professionally.
I also believe it’s good to make friends at work as it really helps keep a good overall office culture. If everyone hated each other or didn’t build relationships within the team, the office would be quiet and boring with no atmosphere and what impression would that give to a prospective employee or client? When people get on well, the office culture is light and I believe the team works better as a whole because of it.
Make the most of your ‘me time’
We live in such a constant world nowadays that it can be hard to really switch off. I’m a real believer in leaving your work in the office and not bringing it home with you. I understand that in all industries this may not be possible, but as much as you can I think you should get home and do what YOU really want to do. Checking your emails and working at weekends will eventually take it’s toll and you’ll find yourself teetering on the edge of a burnout. Plus, if you are “always on” what expectations does that give to your employer? Will they then expect you to always work in the evenings and weekends? Could it come across that you are not managing your time in office hours?
No matter what ‘me time’ means to you, whether its a bubble bath, Netflix binge or a night out with your friends, it’s so important to schedule in activities outside of work that make you happy and allow you to recharge.
Exercise is kind of okay (I guess…)
Working an office job means I don’t really get to move around a lot during the day, and I have really noticed the effects that this has had on my body. I’ve discovered exercise is a great way to boost my mood and get my endorphins going after a stressful day, it restores my energy levels and makes me feel like I have achieved something outside of work. When I step into the gym or a fitness class, my focus is on my body and bettering myself, not replying to Susan’s passive-aggressive email.
I hope you have enjoyed reading what I’ve learnt in my first job since university. What did you do for your first job and what did it teach you? Let me know in the comments!