Graduate firsts: this job thing

31I have finally done it, my employment status is no longer ‘unemployed graduate, doing voluntary roles,’ it has been updated to: digital editorial assistant. I filled out application 1,004, got an interview and the rest is history. I make it sound easy… it was not. But I have published many posts on graduates looking for jobs. This post marks a new wave of posts coming your way: the graduate experience in the workplace.

University doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the day-to-day of 9-5 life. Yes, I gained many skills at University but at the end of the day having a full time job isn’t really a skill. You have to go through it and feel it out to learn it. I decided early on writing everything down would be the best way forward. Even the repetitive boring stuff is important to note down but thankfully there isn’t much of that!.  I decided sharing a few of the things I do to keep on top of the new job situation might be useful.

make lists (the mariam cult classic)

It has been a month now and I have recorded my experiences from everyday. Reflection is key to personal development. Being self-aware and creating a bank of strengths and weaknesses (tasks performed well and not well) provides a strong point to construct oneself for future career success.

get to know everyone

Knowing that I would be working with everyone in my office from 9-5 every day I decided that getting to know them was important. Networking in this particular situation meant being polite, kind, making conversation and doing good work – this is what would lead to a lasting impression. Learning from the experiences of your colleagues is immensely important. The people you will work with, will more than likely have a great understanding of their field! 

Also, when I say get to know everyone I mean – everyone. From the receptionists and cleaners to the kitchen staff and people outside your department. Everyone is someone, you never know who can help you when you are looking for a job. 

change is good

My first two weeks in the 9-5 malarkey, I felt like an alien. However I used the following thoughts to keep me from having a full on freak out:

  • Everybody starts somewhere
  • They (my employer) must have employed me because they saw potential to hire me
  • I have as much right to be here as anyone else (I will come back to this in another post)
  • This is a learning experience (thankfully my colleagues are lovely) my contributions are encouraged
  • I don’t want to be sitting behind my laptop at home filling in applications mindlessly, time to move forward
  • Reading books on the train helped me not to get myself into a panic before work and it also helped me to switch off after work!

just ask

I know some people can go into their first full time graduate position and do not enjoy it. My experience has been incredibly fortunate. Through the support of Creative Access (will do a separate post on this) I have found an employer who actually cares. Things I didn’t expect from my employer:

  • The immense amount of support, encouragement and constant awareness of my position being a learning curb
  • Feedback and a genuine concern for the skills I refine and learn and how they will be useful to me in the future
  • The willingness of all my colleagues to talk about their work and explain things to the newbie
  • Proper training. Actually someone sitting down with me and going through what I need to/should learn by when and how

For anyone who is starting new jobs or stepping onto the career ladder for the first time, good luck and just keep working hard. For me the next few months will be about making sure I learn as much as I can about the area I’m working in. I won’t become an expert overnight and I have made peace with that. However day by day, I am hyper aware of what I do and learn and that, for me, is the way forward.