You sent in your resume, you aced your interview, and you signed your contract; you’re starting your first job and you couldn’t be more excited! You already know to show up early for your first day, to not take too long of a lunch, and to not munch on chips or other loud snacks when you get hungry at 3 pm; but what about the things you don’t think of? What about the issues no one warned you about? Here are five things you should expect from your first job that your college adviser didn’t prepare you for.
1. You are not going to be trained
There are companies that are the exception but for the most part you will get little to no training at your job. A lot of places do not have the time to teach you everything (and a lot of people do not have the patience to hold your hand through your first month). Ask questions when you don’t understand something and write everything down. There is no syllabus week in the real world, your boss will expect you to jump in and either sink or swim.
2. You will have a coworker cliché
There will always be that person at your office: the person who asks you to get their coffee, or their lunch, or refers to you as “the intern” even though you are salaried employee. Prepare to deal with someone who thinks that because they have been there longer or because they have a preferable job title they can make you do things for them. You are no one’s intern and even if you were, it shouldn’t be your responsibility to get them their latte.
3. You’re going to f**k up
It might be a lot and that’s okay, slipups are all part of learning. Unlike in school, though, no one is going to look over your mistakes and take the time to give you a midterm grade. If you find yourself really struggling in a certain area, ask your manager or a colleague for advice on how to improve. They might not have time to train you but they should have time for a tip or two and if not, Google is your best friend.
4. You will be talked down to
Whether it’s talking to you like you’re a child or calling you their “little assistant,” there will always be someone that speaks down to you. They won’t see you as an equal because you are so new or so young. Those reasons are bullsh*t. It may be difficult but if you ever want to be seen as an equal you have to establish yourself. If someone calls you their assistant, politely correct and tell them you prefer “editorial assistant” or “office manager” or whatever your actual job title is.
5. You won’t be there forever
Maybe it’s your dream job or maybe it’s the first place that gave you an offer; whatever the reason you are there, you won’t be there forever. You might quit or you might be fired and, while you don’t want to think about that right now, you just have to know that there are always good things heading your way.
What do you wish you had known when you started your first job?