8 Things You Should Know Before You Start Your First Job

So you’ve made it through the interviews and screenings to land your first job. Congratulations! Give yourself a big pat on the back. Now the real challenge begins.

It’s always exciting and not a little bit scary to venture into uncharted territory, but having an idea of what to expect goes a long way toward easing your nerves. Here are eight important things you should know before you step into your career-woman shoes.

1. It’s a completely fresh start.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Tumblr

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Tumblr

Being top of your class doesn’t guarantee you success in the workplace, just as less-than-stellar grades do not mean that you’ll flounder in the real world. This is your blank slate. Whether you’ve obtained your dream job or are simply testing the waters, look at it as a learning experience and an opportunity to shine.

2. Your coworkers don’t have to be your friends, but they do have to be your teammates.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

Try as you might, you won’t be buds with everyone in the office. The challenge lies in being able to set aside your personal differences and work alongside your colleagues to accomplish the task at hand. That’s what being professional is about.

3. Thick skin is essential in the workplace.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

At one point or another, you will receive criticism. Instead of dwelling on it and making yourself feel worse, use it in a constructive manner. Challenge yourself to learn and grow from it. It may not seem like it, but years from now, you’ll look back and thank your ex-boss for all those evaluation sessions.

4. Excuses don’t count. Actions do.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

So you messed up your first major assignment. It happens to the best of us. It’s not the whys behind your mistakes that matters—it’s the hows. How are you going to learn from them? How will you avoid them in the future? How will you do better? Answer these questions within yourself then let your actions speak for you. Your boss will value this more than excuses and promises.

5. It’s important to speak your mind.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

Don’t be shy to voice your opinions and suggestions in the workplace. Good bosses appreciate the input of each employee, because it shows that you are invested in the team’s success. In the same way, it’s important to raise your concerns, whether it’s about your projects, salary, or career development. Be assertive but respectful.

6. Your salary isn’t all yours.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

There’s nothing quite like the shock of looking at your first payslip. On the one hand, it’s thrilling, because you know that this is money that you’ve earned yourself. On the other hand, you’ll see all the deductions that whittle down your expected earnings. The good news is that your contributions to SSS, Pag-ibig, and the like will come in handy in the future. Just think of them as forced savings!

7. Power dressing is not a myth.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

The way you present yourself contributes as much to shaping others’ perception of you as it does to affecting your mood. Neat hair and a well-chosen outfit leave a good impression and help you secure your colleagues’ and clients’ trust and approval. Also, don’t underestimate what good makeup and nice shoes can do for your confidence and outlook throughout your workday.

8. Positivity is your friend.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

You’re bound to have days when nothing seems to go your way. Don’t give in to the lure of the dark side. Be your own cheerleader. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, such as a photo of you and your friends or a souvenir from a memorable vacation. And don’t forget to share the good vibes by smiling at your officemates and giving them a compliment or two. Positivity is catching, and it’ll manifest itself in your output and relationships.

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