First Job Basics: Why Isn’t There a 101 Class for This!

It seems as if you just took a major step (going to college) and you were walked through a good deal of that. High school advisors helped you submit applications and fill out financial aid forms, summer orientation kept you thinking about school over the summer, and appointments with academic advisors, student advisors, or other mentors when first arriving on campus ensured that the tradition went smoothly. Well now what? You might go through all four years of undergrad without getting a job at all. On the other hand, you might find yourself short a little pocket change or with a stack of bills that need paying. Or, you might be a struggling grad student whose parents have officially cut the purse strings. Your university might have a career center where you can get help constructing a resume, get assessments on the right job for you, and practice interview skills. But what about once you have the job? You’re on your way to work on day one and thinking, “What do I do? How do I act? How do I impress my boss?” It’s time to join the adult work, so take it step by step.
1. Look down. How are you dressed? Are you “dressed to impress.” If not, turn the car around (time permitting) and put on some big girl clothes. As they say, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If this is your first job you’re probably just grateful to have obtained employment, but still – show it! Look professional. This means no sweatpants, no fishnets, no flip-flops, no wrinkles, and no stains.
2. Now you’re at work, and your friendly coworker has introduced herself to you. You’re so happy to see a smiling face, but almost immediately she starts gossiping about other employees – employees you haven’t even met yet. What do you do? Avoid trash talk and office politics! It won’t get you very far and doesn’t make for a fun work environment. If people talk badly about other people to you, what do you think they’re saying to others about you? Skip it, stay positive, and get to work.
3. You’re an hour into the work day and already the clock seems to be standing still. Stay productive and on task, and go home knowing you put in a hard day’s work.
In short: arrive early, stay late, don’t be afraid to dress nicer than you think you have to, don’t skate by on the bare minimum, and always respect your coworkers. You might start out thinking it’s “just a summer job,” but hey – I’ve known people who started waiting tables and ended up owning their own restaurants. Don’t settle!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest