A new job is both an exciting and terrifying event for many people. The newness of it and the possibility of making a difference contribute to its thrill, but at the same time these things can seem intimidating. Working and focusing on People Solutions (Our CEO, David hates it when we use the term “human resources”) has allowed me to experience both sides of the new work experience. How we act, behave, and think are very important when starting. I’d like to share 4 simple mistakes you should avoid when starting a new job.
Note: I wrote this primarily for young job seekers / starters but I hope others find this useful as well
Feeling Entitled and Having the Wrong Expectations.
Just because you did well in school, doesn’t mean you automatically deserve to be treated like royalty. The world does not revolve around you! That is the truth! Working for several established and startup organizations has taught me that business requires resourcefulness, flexibility, and hard work. Many times, I’ve had to juggle roles very different from what I was initially hired for. Embracing and learning from the different experiences with every role that you take on will surely build your character and mold you to be better. Instead of expecting predictability, be prepared for anything and everything. Instead of expecting everything to go according to your idea of reality, get ready to serve, to make adjustments. It’s easy to be effective when every thing is going your way, but an impressive worker is someone who can get things done no matter what the circumstances are. Be of value to the organization even in the little things. Nothing is ever beneath you, so don't be afraid to get down and dirty. You will see the rewards of it soon enough-and it lasts for a lifetime.
Not Continuously Learning
Growing up my mom would always give me books, which, sadly, I never read. I remember her telling me about the importance of reading, but I never fully understood it until I stopped school during my third year of college to work. I quickly realized that I needed to learn a lot to catch-up to my colleagues and handle the greater responsibilities that merit a promotion. So I pushed myself to read, research, and build a network - things I should have done when I was younger. No matter what you have or have not accomplished the hunger and thirst to learn should never diminish. I urge you to read and explore new fields that you can gain more knowledge to thrive on. Don’t stop learning just because you’re already done with school.
Lacking Creativity and Resourcefulness
What do you do when you only have a can of tuna, some oatmeal and an egg in your pantry? Would you make an omelet or just eat all three ingredients separately? Or would you make tuna meatballs or maybe tuna fritters? You actually have a lot of choices. The point is you should never just look at things shallowly but with creativity and resourcefulness take whatever you have and produce something amazing. Many times, new people on the job get overwhelmed by the workload placed on them and get frustrated by the lack of resources to achieve them. This is the wrong way to respond to these new challenges. Every new job has its own set of complicated scenarios that will make you find other means to address it and provide the best fit solution. If you lack imagination and creativity, if you do not have the willingness and the guts to take risks and explore, you will always just see one way and miss the possibilities and resources you actually have. Take advantage of what you do have instead of complaining about your limitations. A good first step is to develop a habit of being grateful. Being grateful helps us appreciate what we do have.
No Sense of Accountability
If you’re starting your first job, you’re probably an adult. I hope you are at least. There’s a big difference between acting like an adult and a child, which is mainly this: Adults are always responsible for themselves. Children need someone to be responsible for them. Even if you’re new to the job, you’re responsible for the output of you work. Don’t focus on your newness or lack of experience, focus on the objective you need to accomplish. Accountability is difficult when you are new at a job. What is easy is to say that I am new, I do not know, you can ask my manager. Taking ownership is about looking at the entirety of it and accepting that you are a part of a bigger picture and knowing that what you do will have a direct impact on the outcome.
People use the terms Book Smart, Work Smart and Street Smart to describe different kinds of intelligence, but I like to encourage our people to be Life Smart! Combine everything that you have learned and experienced as a whole and bring them together to bring your career to where it should be.
Your career is what you make it. You may be new, but you don’t have to be a failure. Be a success today.