First job and its Highs & Lows

Most of you, young people, reading this have heard at least once about your seniors, older relatives & friends’ experience of their first jobs. Some of them might have been extremely positive, while others – pretty negative. 

Source: The Quint

Many teenagers in India work while they are in school, and when they move to college. A first job during school has many helpful byproducts beyond self-confidence. For example, teens’ communication skills usually grow exponentially. They must learn how to navigate their first job interview, interact with customers and colleagues effectively, and respect authority while also expressing disagreements with tact. Such “soft” skills are even more valuable for teens to develop in today’s social media-saturated, eye-contact optional, way-too-few-actual-conversations culture.

However, a job while studying is generally part-time, where the worker’s main focus is generally academics, extracurriculars and sports. However, a first full-time job is an extremely different experience. 

A first job is generally entry level. 

Entry-level jobs often require no prior work experience nor do they require you to have a particular skill set already. Often, employers are looking for individuals who have strong soft skills such as being reliable, hardworking, a team player, and willing to learn on-the-job.

  1. They provide the opportunity to explore a variety of settings and industries without being completely tied down or making a big commitment. This enables you to get a sense of the day-to-day activities at a company or industry to ensure that the environment is a good fit.
  2. They allow you to use your “book smarts” and gain the hands-on part that you may not have earned in college.
  3. These jobs are viewed as learning opportunities and employers and managers may allow for mistakes. At this level, mistakes may not be as detrimental for the company. You can take advantage of this time to learn as much as you can.
  4. They provide you an opportunity to explore careers in an industry you may have not considered.
  5. You will find great opportunities to network with people from different fields and various work backgrounds. Cultivating these will help you a great deal in your career in the long run.

However, a first-job also comes with its host of challenges.

  1. You might feel overburdened and overwhelmed with information. While good managers are understanding and expect there to be a learning curve, the business can’t pause for too long. Therefore, new hires often find themselves bombarded with tons of information and details almost immediately.
  1. But then, there is the other side of the coin as well. If your manager or fellow team members have a particularly packed schedule the week you start, it’s likely you’ll end up doing some menial tasks that don’t have a lot to do with your overall job.
  1. Managing your attitude might come as a challenge at a first job, since you are freshly out of college, and a workplace has quite a different environment. Participating from the very start shows you’re interested in collaborating with your colleagues and helping the company. But there’s a fine line between confidence in your ideas and arrogance. In fact, employees who have been at the company a while tend to not like the newbie who thinks they already know everything even though they just started.
  1. Introverted individuals or people suffering from social anxiety might find it a challenge to meet new colleagues, introduce themselves to them and understand team dynamics. 
  1. Difficulty in striking a reasonable work-life balance is also a common concern when a person is in a new job, that too for the first time. 

Address these issues with the help of a counsellor or a therapist, if you think that you are not able to cope up with all the challenges that your first job is presenting to you. 

  1. Confirm the time and amount of work you will be doing. Let’s say you agree that during the week, you should only be online or in the workplace from 9 am to 6 pm. If so, you can quickly start making plans for a healthy work-life balance within your first week. Knowing these times can also help you understand the dynamics of your team and the corporate culture. You’ll be able to see that your team isn’t overworked and that everyone on it values their personal space.
  2. Meet everyone and introduce yourself. If you work in an office environment, stop by each of your team members’ workstations for a second and introduce yourself. The majority of people will welcome a brief introduction and look forward to working with you, despite the fact that this approach may initially seem scary. Send a brief greeting to everyone in a public chat if you’re working from home.
  3. Pose inquiries. It demonstrates that you are not arrogant to own your ignorance and solicit assistance. When you ask questions correctly, you can even come out as confident; just start by saying what you do know, followed by what you don’t. Your manager will recognise that you are qualified for the position and simply need their assistance as a result. You’ll be well on your way to being a valued employee once you have that. In order to learn from your onboarding experience and enhance the procedure, the company may even ask you questions as part of a new-hire survey.

If all of the above is too overwhelming for you, reach out to us at Sentier Minds, and help us guide you and provide you with feedback to have the most out of your first job!

Sentier Mind provide student support program to educational enterprises for mental wellness of our young ones and Employee Assistance Program to Workplace. We have a team of Psychologist working with this population for over a decade. We help to provide the care that every individual deserve.

Written by Rima Chowdhury

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