7 Things That Will Definitely Happen During Your First Job & How To Deal
Starting your first job can be an incredibly daunting experience. In fact, every new job you start will probably have a learning curve — but starting your first job particularly involves an adjustment period. You may feel like everyone else knows what they're doing and you don't want to ask too many questions or make a fuss. But the thing is, you will probably mess up at some point — and that's OK. The one thing to remember about your first job is that it's totally normal to take a while to find your feet.
"The first year of work is a learning experience," Janet Lamwatthananon, a career advice expert at ZipRecruiter, tells Bustle. And learning experiences can be uncomfortable. Whether you start your first job when you're 13 or 23, there are going to be some real growing pains. You may feel like a fish out of water or that you can't do anything right for a while but, if it's a good job and a good work environment, you'll get there eventually. So give yourself a little room to grow. As long as you're doing your best and asking for help when you need it, it will be OK in the end — because the learning experience (and that first paycheck!) will make it so worth it.
So here's what will happen in your first job — and how to deal with it.
1. You Will Mess Up (And It Will Be OK)
Nobody's perfect. At some point, you will make an error. It may be small or it may be large, but it will happen. And it's absolutely, totally OK. Most of us aren't performing brain surgery at our jobs — and our mistakes can only be so large. The trick is knowing how to learn from it. "Acknowledge your blunder and then apply any constructive feedback in the future to avoid making the same mistake twice," Lamwatthananon says. "Everyone’s been there, so don’t beat yourself up. Just take it as a valuable learning moment."
2. You'll Feel Pressure To "Prove Yourself"
"There's a lot of pressure to 'prove yourself' when you start a new job and this can lead some people to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness," Robin Cangie, a personal branding and career coach, tells Bustle. And that may not sound like a bad thing — but you can go overboard. Make sure that you're not burning yourself out while trying to make a good first impression. Being dedicated, respectful, and friendly is enough, especially if you're getting all your work taken care of.
3. There Will Be A Coworker You Just Won't Mesh With
Even if you have a great office environment, it's totally normal to have one or two people who rub you the wrong way. It's not unusual — and it doesn't have to ruin your work environment.
"Believe in the best of the person across the table from you, assume that they are good people, give them what I call MRI (most respectful interpretation), instruct them in a non-confrontational way, crack a joke about it to ease the tension, and if they continue to act in a poor way, go to your supervisor or HR," Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder of Ellevest, tells Bustle. But for the most part, it will just be a matter of being civil to them when you have to work together.
4. You'll Struggle To Find A Pre-Work Routine
It's totally normal to take a while to perfect your morning routine at a new job. Maybe you'll be nervous you'll wake up with way too much time to kill every morning and have to loiter for hours or maybe you'll be so late that you never get a proper breakfast, but whatever the case, it may take some time to get it to the point where you're feeling your best when you walk into work.
"Morning is a sacred time of day," certified holistic health coach Alexandra Napoli tells Bustle over email. "It's a moment to practice valuable self-care before the rest of the world is knocking at your door. If your mindset or routine is chaotic, your day will be chaotic. Incorporating a few healthy habits to your morning will set you on the right foot for a wonderful day and set your health on the right path for a long healthy life." So try to keep track of the different routines you try and how each one makes you feel — then stick with the one that works for you. Practice makes perfect.
5. You Will, At Some Point Be Late
Sure, some people run late all the time — and those people will probably be late all the time. But even if you hate, hate being late, it will happen. A car won't start, an alarm won't go off, a train will be delayed — these things just happen. You may panic every single minute of your journey to work when you're running late, but you know what? It will be fine. Being late, even if you hate it, is going to happen one day and the world will not end. Let your boss know as soon as you know you may be late, apologize when you get there, and move on. Just don't make a regular thing.
6. You Will Sit Through Meetings So Boring Your Brain Will Melt
Even if you have the best job in the world, you will almost certainly have to sit through some boring meetings here and there. There are meetings about meetings, meetings about sending emails, and even meetings about things so mundane that you'll wonder if time has stopped. You probably won't have even realized people could have meetings about such ridiculous minutia until you start your first office job. It's inevitable — but all you can do is be respectful and try to chime in with some (constructive) points when you can.
7. You'll Learn A Lesson About Saving Money
Pretty much everyone you know will have blown a paycheck at one point or another — only to realize they're totally broke at the end of the month. Whether it's because of a dream trip you were finally able to book or for movers for your new apartment, the solution is simple: don't make any impulses purchases and try to start an emergency fund, even if it starts out small.
"To save more, ramp up your savings slowly, in line with a raise or increase in income," Arielle O'Shea, Investing and Retirement Specialist for NerdWallet, tells Bustle. Then you'll have a backup when unexpected expenses come in, rather than living off of ramen noodles.
Starting your first job can feel like one growing pain after another — but that's OK. Remember, everybody has to start somewhere and every person at your job was new at some point. Just keep putting in the hours, learning from your mistakes, and asking for help when you need it. You're going to be great.