You are young and you enter the workforce excited. You want to apply your book-knowledge to real-world situations. You are brimming with ideas & are eager to implement them. You have a vision about the impact you’re going to make in your chosen field. You are hungry for results and full of dynamic energy.
This in itself is admirable, if they you manage to find a workplace that values all the contributions that you have to offer. However, unless you’re really lucky, most workplaces expect and reward other types of skills. At this point into your first job, you may have begun to observe an acute mismatch between your expectations and the realities of your workplace.
This mismatch between expectations and reality can cause depression, dissatisfaction and poor job performance.
Poor job performance can further lead to a cycle of discontent as the expected rewards do not come through.
Don’t fret. Flipping your perspective by taking note of the following five important point can drastically improve your first job experience. Banish those blues!
1. Become Intimately Familiar with What the Organization Needs From You
As an entry level employee, you need to know the organization you are in and when its expectations are from you. This may mean doing little, detail-oriented tasks in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Often, job descriptions and responsibilities for junior positions are not exactly what you dreamed about in college. But know that almost everyone has to start from the bottom and work their way up. So, get to know what exactly it is that the organization needs from you. Learn how to those things and learn to do them well. It is only when you are able to demonstrate competence at the small things, that you will be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.
2. Develop Emotional Intelligence: Learn to Work with Different Working Styles
One of the most important tools of effective communication that you need to know about is the art of strategic mirroring. When you meet supervisors and colleagues with different working and communication styles, pause and observe. Don’t steam-roller over them with your own energy levels.
At least initially, mirror their body language and patterns of communication. This will help you establish rapport and functional working intimacy with them.
Your first job is not the time for you to become rigid and hung up on only one particular way of doing things. Become flexible, and you will be able to work with people with ease, even those that have vastly different working styles than yours.
3. Know what Needs to be Done First: Ask Your Supervisor About Priorities
Unless you have a very narrow job description and a specialized focus, chances are that you’ll be expected to perform a variety of different tasks in your first job. Your supervisor may hand you a list full of tasks without much input or instruction. However, do not over-promise and under-deliver. This is the worst thing that you could do, for both your job performance and your stress levels.
The onus is on you to ask your supervisor about the priority and weight assigned to each of those tasks.
If you’re in the dark about such basic information, do not start working on a project without it. Ask. Listen. Implement.
4. Update Your Supervisor on Your Progress
You should get to know your supervisor’s working and communication style in detail. Are they the kind of person who likes to always be in the know about what you are doing? If so, then send them an e-mail every Monday. In the e-mail, update them on what work was done last week, and what you are working on at the moment.
This fulfills a dual purpose- your supervisor feels like they are in the loop, and they also know about the massive amount of work you’re doing (wink wink).
Being updated will prevent them from piling you with extra work.
5. Acknowledge E-mails and Other Forms of Communication, Inform People When They Can Expect a More Detailed Response
Following proper communication etiquette in the workplace can save you a lot of misunderstandings and heartache.
Even if you are not able to answer a query immediately or do a task immediately, acknowledge the request and inform the person when you will be able to get back to them properly.
This ensures that the other person feels acknowledged and heard. This prevents things from building up in a dramatic way, and keeps emotions at bay.
At the end of the day, we are all human and we all want our needs to be met. It will serve you will to remember this, no matter what slick jargon the corporate communication brochures tell you. Learn to read between the lines and make your first job experience peaceful and manageable.
Share this article with the people in your life who are in their first jobs or about to start their first jobs!