Get Over Yourself: Surviving Your First Job

Office Girl

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A funny thing happened at work the other day. A young employee came up to a manager and said she wasn’t up to working. Why? She didn’t feel like working.

It’s the kind of episode that makes my generation, Generation X, imitate the dude in agony in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

If you’re one of thousands looking to get a job this year, here’s an important detail to remember: you need to actually do something to get paid at work.

You’re Hired — Please, Work

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I’ve been in a few companies and experienced several different workplaces — and I’m amazed by the brassy, sometimes odd behavior of today’s employee: the Millennial.

According to a Deloitte study, six out of 10 Millennial Filipino employees will leave a job in the next four years. A report from Rappler, meanwhile, describes Millennial workers as “overly self-confident and self-absorbed,” and maybe even more telling is their lack of commitment to do the hard work.

Granted, “hard work” isn’t an alluring concept for most people. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to just lie on the beach with a year’s supply of food and booze, and not worry about financial stability and supporting the family?

Unfortunately, that’s just a movie that plays in your head while you sit in an office and beat a deadline.

If you have no problem with jumping from one job to another and not having a stable income, you could choose unbridled honesty with your managers about not wanting to work.

But if you want to try and get a career going, build your resume, and make some money for your future, here are ways to survive (and thrive) your first job.

Cut the Distraction in Your First Week, Or Month

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You’re new, and no matter what kind of education you’ve had or how well you know technology, you still need to prepare. A good way to do this is to eliminate distractions. If you’re in a relationship, you’ll want to minimize the phone calls. If you’ve got a large network of friends, cut down on social media; at work, don’t even open your page. It’s the right thing to do because you shouldn’t use company resources for personal activity.

Learn Your Role — Know It Like the Back of Your Hand

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Whether you’re in a creative workplace or a corporate environment, you need to know your role in the company. Take advantage of the orientation, onboarding — or whatever newfangled name it’s called now, and know your responsibilities and the company’s responsibilities.

Ask about policies and other details that need clarification. Listen actively. Stay organized. And when in doubt — ask, or Google it.

Show Up

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Eighty percent of success is showing up,” says Woody Allen. You can’t do much if you’re not around, can you?

But don’t just show up.

Show up on time; and willing to do the work. Yes. We all have our bad days, and to vent is divine, or some such. But wouldn’t you rather exert more energy being awesome than being miserable?

Watch for Burnout

Burnout

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Yes, work hard, but never to a point of exhaustion. Of course, make room for the good stuff, like time with friends, your significant other, and family. Eat well. Drink. Laugh. Get a massage, or run. Whatever stress relief method works for you, make time for it.

Love Your Job

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And here’s the most important detail in surviving your first job: apply for a job you know you’re actually going to like.

If you like what you’re doing, then you wouldn’t feel like dragging yourself out of bed, dragging your feet through the office, and “dragging” your mind through every task. You might not land your dream job on the first try, but if you behave in a way that seems like it is, you might even make a pretty damn lucrative career out of it.

It kills me that some companies seem like they’re practically cradling young employees, coaxing them to work. You’ve entered in a relationship, and it has a contract. It’s only fair to abide by what’s in it. And if that means working on a day when you don’t feel like it, then you have to push on and, in the wise words of a known brand: just do it.

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