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3 Pieces of Advice Everyone Needs for Their First Job


“If only I knew then what I know now.” There are plenty of milestones we look back on wistfully, but perhaps none more so than our first professional jobs. If only we could get in a time machine and tell our former selves what we’re doing wrong!

The next best thing, of course, is to share our hard-won knowledge with today’s newbies, which is exactly what Thorin Klosowski did in Lifehacker last week. His roundup of advice he wishes someone had given him way back in the day is definitely worth a read, but here are the three things that seemed most familiar to me.

1. Accept Your Newbie Status

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Everyone’s worked with (or been, ha ha) that person who thinks he knows everything. Do not be this person at your new job, especially if you’re just starting out your career. Listen, learn, and absorb the company culture. Figure out why your new company does things the way it does, before you sail in and “fix” everything. And be prepared to work hard.

“Unfortunately, chances are you’ll need to clean the proverbial toilet for a while before you’re given any real responsibility,” Klosowski writes.

2. Be on Time…

…for everything. Meetings. Deadlines. Lunch appointments with your new coworkers. You’re building your reputation here. Make sure it’s a good one.

3. Watch out for Burnout

Working hard is good. Working around the clock is not. If you find yourself stressed over the smallest things, unable to concentrate, or just generally feeling lousy, it might be time to take a break.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What advice do you wish you’d been given before your first job? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: PatCastaldo/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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