Your first job can be a great way to make connections in your line of work and to really get yourself going in terms of a career. While it’s likely that you’ll get your first job when you’re pretty young, it’s important to remember that you’re a professional now, and you should act like one. But whatever you do, don’t make the following seven mistakes.
1. Pretending to understand everything right away.
If you don’t understand something, it’s important that you ask for clarification. Not doing so can result in major problems in the future. Most people are happy to help, especially if you’re new. It’s definitely better to get things right on the front end rather than having to correct your mistakes later. (And that has the potential to waste someone else’s time, as well).
2. Pretending to understand nothing at all.
A lot of people make the mistake of pretending not to understand something because they think it will force others to interact with them and that it will lighten their workloads. However much you may want to sit back and play dumb, it’s never a good idea. If you know what you’re doing and can complete tasks well, it shows that you have a lot of skill and will truly impress your new boss. As long as you’re confident in the accuracy of your knowledge, use that to your advantage.
3. Ignoring the other employees.
Even if you genuinely don’t like anyone else at your job, it’s important to make an effort. Not only will it make your day a lot easier, but you never know when you might need someone’s help with a task. Don’t alienate others, and don’t be shy. Work can feel like a chore if you don’t have anyone to talk to while there. Make the effort to reach out to your coworkers. They might become friends, allies, and even tutors.
4. Forgetting to be polite.
Different work environments will have different etiquette associated with them, but as a general rule, be polite to everyone. Don’t burn any bridges by being rude or careless. It’s nice to go the extra mile and offer to make everyone a pot of coffee or to simply say “thank you,” when it’s appropriate. Things like this can make a great first impression.
5. Simply trying too hard.
While it’s definitely in your best interest to be outgoing and personable with others at the office, it’s important to remember to be yourself. Trying too hard can make you seem annoying and overeager. Sometimes it’s good to let others come to you for a change. Additionally, don’t try to show anyone up. You should complete your work in a timely manner, but don’t try so hard that you end up competing with others.
6. Not giving it your all.
Even if this isn’t your dream job, you shouldn’t act like you’re there temporarily. You should dedicate yourself to your work. It never did anyone any favors to act like they were on their way out of the door – so commit yourself to this job. This is especially true if you don’t already have something lined up somewhere else. Try focusing on the experience you’re getting from this job and how you’re fortunate to be employed.
7. Not being active.
As the new employee, it can be easy to fade into the background and simply do as you’re told. However, you shouldn’t be too passive. You can still do your job and respect your superiors while still contributing and being an actively participating member of the team. Others will admire your willingness to step up and share your opinions.
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