Today is my 6 month anniversary at my current job! I’m currently the lead administrator at a local staffing agency where I deal with people, paperwork, and lots of other general office-related tasks.
I consider this job my first “grown up” job, as in the past I worked in retail or childcare. Both important, but nothing that has grown me like this job. I really love my job and am proud of how much this job has changed me.
I’ve learned a lot more than just 10 things since taking on this job, but these are some important things I wish I had known before I entered the corporate world.
1. Invest in whatever work attire your work environment calls for – now. The biggest mistake I’ve seen since women do is trying to pass off their old high school or “sexy outfits” as work outfits.
Do us all a favor, go to Ann Taylor, and get some big girl pants. Investing in work clothes is not cheap, although it doesn’t have to be that expensive either. Once I had appropriate business clothes, I felt so much more confident and I was able to focus on my work because I knew I looked nice.
2. Stop saying sorry for every mistake you make at work. Accept it, apologize if necessary, but stop coming across like a little girl who needs to “say sorry.” I’ve learned that I will make mistakes. There is no use in dwelling on those mistakes, though.
3.Use eye contact. Eye contact is something that has been hard for me to use at times, but it’s very important to give yourself a positive and confident edge. Avoiding eye contact makes you seem aloof, uninterested, and lacking confidence.
4. Let go of your nervous habits. Learn to stop figiting or doing whatever nervous habit you have while listening or talking to people. Stop now so you can become a more confident woman sooner instead of hanging onto habits that will hurt your growth.
5. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone you work with. It’s great to have coworkers you connect with, but not everyone at work will be your friend. Let go of needing to be “friends” with everyone in the office and aim for having a good professional relationship with them, which can look a lot different from friendship.
6. Don’t be afraid to be the first one to act, speak, or do. People can’t read minds. If something needs to be said or done, feel free to step to the plate.
The best work environments are ones where communication is honest, open, and fueled by the desire to work together.
7. Stop complaining to all of your coworkers. Just because you’re surrounded by them all day doesn’t mean they deserve to hear you complain about how your dog threw up last night…
8. Be okay with leaving work unfinished. If staying late is a typical “habit” at your office, but you’re not being compensated or rewarded for doing extra work – don’t. It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing work until it’s done. But work is often never done if you can’t learn to leave it alone.
Sometimes the best way to approach your work is with a fresh set of eyes that have taken some time away from it all anyway. Unless there’s a deadline or a dire need to finish your work, it’s okay to leave a little bit for the next day.
9. Exert your authority. I don’t mean become a domineering feminist or a Ms. Bossypants. Even in the lowest ranking jobs, every employee has authority over their own position and the type of work they are putting in.
Be okay with saying no to tasks you simply can’t do or that conflict with your personal life. In other words, don’t be a doormat to whatever work comes your way just because you don’t know how to say no or because you feel the need to please a coworker or boss.
10. Don’t be afraid to love your job. Loving your job does not make you a weirdo. Actually enjoying work is one of the best signs that you’re not only doing your job well, but that it’s the right fit for you.
If at the end of the day, you have that feeling of accomplishment, and you take ownership over your work – be glad, smile, and let your job fulfill you like it should.
Working has been a great learning experience. I hope I just keep learning, growing, and getting better at my job each day.
Questions for You:
- What would you add to this list?
- What is the best work-related advice you’ve been given?