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First job - expectations vs realityIf your expectation for your brand new job is nearly as high as they sky, you could be in for a harsh reality check when you arrive at the doors. Starting a new job – particularly your first job straight outta university – is freakin’ hard work.

Yep, some of the work will be dull, some of it will be long hours and some of it will really make you questions yourself.

Things like, why did I spend all those years at university to now start out on the bottom rung? Did I pick the right industry for me? Does anyone in this place like me? Maybe I’m no good?

Woah baby, back the truck up.

I’m not trying to freak you out, you’ve got to give it a go and stick it out, but I’m here to help you get prepared for that first job. This is the hardest you’re likely to be up against. Ever. No other job that you start will be quite as tough as the first.

Here’s an honest guide of what you’re in for and to help you along the way. And further down, you’ll be able to grab a free copy of the New Job Survival Kit, which includes all of our top tips on landing your dream job and how to crush it. So, keep reading!

Getting tired. Gone are the days of sleeping in and turning up to class in the late afternoon. You have a new routine to get used where you’re needed at your workplace all day, everyday for five days a week. But it ain’t that bad. One of the highlights here is that you typically can leave your work right where it belongs – at work. Meaning your weekends are freed up from assignments and essay writing for brunching and cocktails with the girls.

Being hard on yourself. Yikes the pressure can really get to ya. Like really really build up and nearly explode out the top of your head. This can often lead to self-doubt, which in turn can cause little mistakes. But you’ve gotta relax. You’re totally new to this and can’t be expected to know it all. You need to be given the time and support to be trained up.

Question killer. You want to do a good job so you ask and ask about all the little things and then you start feeling bad because you’re talking all the time. But it’s important to have all the background information and to have a good understanding of your tasks. You’ll actually work better the more you know about the job. So, it’s ok to ask lots of questions. Just make sure you’re not asking the same question twice – that can be a killer. Be organised with your questions. If you feel like you’re interrupting someone every five minutes, instead start a list noting down all your questions, then ask that person if you can grab them for a minute because you have four (or however many) questions you’re needing their help with. They’ll appreciate it so much more and see you’re trying.

Sunday blues. Ooh this is a tough one and one that still gets me! It’s that daunting feeling that creeps in on a Sunday evening when you start remembering all the work that’s piled up on your plate. It’s been a couple of days since you’ve had to deal with it and now you’re psyching yourself out about it. You gotta stay calm, ok? Tell yourself you can handle it. You’ve got to back yourself that you’re going to manage everything fine and the world will keep spinning. I promise.

Working with scary people. Yea, they are everywhere and in every workplace. There will simply always be people that scare you or you don’t get along with. The trick is to work hard to find that little way to win them over. Even if it means a bit of sucking up along the way. I’m not saying you should sell your soul here, but take it on yourself to find the best ways to work with them. That could be through humour or taking some of their work on to help them. Whatever it is, keep at it.

Remember I said you could get your own New Job Survival Kit? Well, here you go!

Starting salaries suck. (How’s that for alliteration?) More often than not, starting salaries are pretty tight. You might have just moved out of home and somehow that monthly pay-packet needs to cover groceries, rent, bills, nights out and your online shopping addiction. Yikes! But it is do-able. Every gal needs a budget, and a budget that you’re going to live by. Check out my savings and budgeting tips here. Plus, now you’re getting paid to sit at a desk rather than the other way around, like those university days. So enjoy it! It might be small money now but it will grow.

Making friends. Those first few days can be a little awkward and scary. From feeling like you have no one to eat your lunch with, to getting past small talk, like anything, making friends at work can take time. If you’re lucky enough to be in a friendly workplace environment there will be others feeling just like you who you can hang out with. Be open and just ask if you can sit with other people, take time to go to social events and chat to others around the coffee machine. You’ll soon feel like you fit right in.

Be yourself. At the end of the day, your workplace has got to suit you. Above anything, be true to yourself (cheesy I know). Bring your own personality and strengths to your role. There’s only one of you on the planet and you’ve got to find ways that make you stand out at work because of who you are.

How are you finding your job? If you’re in or around Auckland and fancy a scone with cream and jam, get your tickets and come along to our careers high tea event on Saturday 21 January, with other millennial working women. We’re gonna have a blast!

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

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