What I Learned From My First Day on the Job

Graduating from college and starting a new job is a very scary thing. I already mentioned my strategy for obtaining a job during my last semester, but how was I supposed to handle starting that new job when I had never had a professional job before? Did I really learn everything I needed to know to be a “professional” while in school? Did my first opportunity working in my chosen field prepare me? Here are a few things I learned from my first day on the job.

A Professional is Expected to Know Their Industry

As a student I was lucky enough to get a decent amount of exposure to industry professionals. My school frequently hosted lectures, presentations, and networking events featuring prominent professionals from the community talking about industry trends. On my first day as a professional I often drew upon things I learned during these events. Several times my manager asked for my opinion on issues facing our team. Knowing what the new “hotness” was in the industry allowed me to appear knowledgeable and make a good first impression upon my coworkers.

A Professional Will Not Have Their Hand Held

There were plenty of times during my first day (and the days that followed) that I was left on my own without an assigned task. For all of my working career prior to my new job I was an hourly employee that very rarely had any down time while at work. While it was disorienting at first to have that free time, I quickly learned that it was a great time to network with coworkers, stay up to date with industry trends, and improve my skills through reading and participating in training.

Another example of this lesson I learned is the fact that very little training was offered pertaining to my actual job duties. Again, in my prior working experience I had usually participated in at least a week or two of training when starting a new job. When I started my current job my training consisted of about an hour meeting with my manager talking about some of the company terminology as well as my team’s role within the company environment. After that meeting I was slowly assigned tasks and expected to complete them with little help. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it was definitely a shock to me in the beginning.

A Professional is Responsible for His/Her Own Success

If there is one common theme about the things I learned on my first it is that my career success is in my hands. I have found many people who will help when asked, but very few who will go out of their way. I have been given a lot of free time in my current job, but it is up to me to put it to good use. I can be as proactive as I want to be, or I can be as lazy as I want to be. It is clear that I will only go as far in my career as my own effort will take me.

Have you started a new job recently? What are some things that you learned on your first day? I would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Yea, I remember when I realized that no one was looking over your shoulder to make sure work was getting done. It’s an odd feeling once you realize just how independent you are from your boss. Eventually you get used to it and start working on new ideas that interest you/will help your boss. Good luck!