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The first days of your first job: five survival tips

  • 3 Min read
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"And here is this, and there is that, and this is how you do this, and this is how you do that."

Keep calm and take notes. The first days you will probably be get a lot of information sent in your direction, because enthusiastic colleagues will explain your business processes, the tools and the do's and don'ts related to your specific job function. Very nice, but often very overwhelming too. What really helped me when I started my first job is to ask questions, to write everything down properly and to go over the day calmly in the evening. If you have enough energy, you can restructure your notes and put them together in a document on your computer so that you can always consult them.

Give yourself time. Try to have a good grasp of what your job contains and take the time to do so. You will probably have some idea about it, thanks to your job search and interview(s), but really understanding what the different tasks and projects consist of, is something entirely different. Print out your job description and try to actualise every responsibility. Divide your responsibilities into projects, subprojects and tasks. Ask yourself the following questions: ‘given my project, what do I need?’ ‘What are my project requirements? ‘,’When do I need those requirements?’ and how can I integrate all these projects into a nice comprehensive planning? And this brings me to my next point: planning.

Plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. When you try to complete your responsibilities, try to incorporate them into a plan that works for you on the one hand, but that is flexible enough on the other so that it also works for your colleagues. Set clear goals, but do not put too much pressure on yourself by hoping to double the company’s turnover in no time. Be realistic and above all, be honest with yourself. Do not forget to schedule rest and reading moments. Breaks because you have to take the time to let everything sink in, and reading moments because you have to give yourself the chance to stay up to date on new trends, how-to's and lifehacks. For instance they could help you carry out your tasks and responsibilities more efficiently.

Acclimatize. You will have to get use to a lot. If you come straight from school, you will notice that working, day in day out requires a lot of energy. Then you look ahead and realize that this is 'just the first week of many weeks', or the 'first week of the rest of my life'. That sounds frightening, yes, but you will soon see it differently. Allow yourself the time to adapt to the work regime and you will notice that it gets better with time. In addition, you will quickly forget those jumping hours and free afternoons that you use to have at University. The reason? You want to act, you cannot wait to realize things and do things – and the things you will be creating will be magnificent, no doubt. But, again, that does not mean that you have to do it all at once. Try, step by step, tackle small things and finish them.

Feel at home. A very important aspect is 'feeling at home' in a corporate culture. You definitely have heard about the corporate culture in your company during your job interview, but you have not really experienced it yet. Immerse yourself in the culture and try to identify yourself with it. Connect with your colleagues, interest yourself in what concerns them, very important, try to involve yourself in the on-going, coffee chitchat. Try to be one with the company and what it stands for.

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