4 things I wish I knew before starting my first job
Earlier this month I was invited to share my experience of transitioning from university to the world of work at a Telstra sponsored Grad Girls event attended by around 40 young women nearing the end of their undergraduate degree.
Grad Girls is a one year program run by Vic ICT for Women that helps female undergraduates make informed decisions about the first step in their career paths as well as start their professional network.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering and Science degree only a few years ago, I remember being in the same position as these young women.
As I sat on the stage answering questions from this group of women who are all on-track to graduate, I was reminded of my own feelings of excitement as I looked ahead to all the unknowns in my first full-time job.
So, here are four things I wish I knew before tackling my first job after university.
1. Believe in yourself
Don’t ever doubt your intelligence. There will be times in your first full-time job when you will doubt if you can ever possibly know enough. That’s normal and you’re allowed to feel this way. But don’t for a second think that you’re not smart enough. Be inquisitive and don’t worry about asking too many questions. Better still, spend time with colleagues that are willing to help you to understand concepts that are difficult to get your head around. Remember – most learning is on the job.
2. Grow your strengths
To build your confidence, play to your strengths. For instance, I’m good at numbers and solving big picture problems. For this reason it’s no surprise I ended up in my current job: a hybrid of business strategy and technical work (network automation). Some people believe in working on their faults, and I won’t argue with that, but for me, putting my strengths to good use has allowed me to contribute my best work to the business and enjoy it along the way.
3. Make time for your hobbies
Don’t let work consume your life. Keep at your hobbies. For instance, I enjoy snorkeling in my time off, teaching kids how to code on the weekends, photography, and I do little side robotics projects. While keeping me balanced, these interests have also helped me to strike up conversations with colleagues, helped me in unexpected ways in the workplace and widened my network. Do the things you enjoy in your own time because it will put you in good stead to stay motivated in the workplace too.
4. The future will sort itself out
So, you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up? Don’t worry, I don’t either. You want to know a secret? Most people don’t! Most of us under the age of 30 are still trying to work out what’s next. If someone had told me five years ago that I’d be an engineer, I would have laughed at the prospect. So don’t worry about the future, the future will sort itself out. Worry about being happy and building a career that adds to your happiness.
Subscribe for the latest news