You did it! You landed your first adult job! You’re excited, nervous, and you have no idea what to expect because it’s your first big kid job after all. Whether you got the gig while you’re finishing up school or it’s been some time since you graduated, you did it and now it’s time to start. Considering that it’s your first adult job and hopefully it fits into what you studied, there are going to be a lot of new things thrown out at you. It’s going to be a bit overwhelming and it’s going to take a minute to adjust and get into a smooth rhythm.
But have no fear, I’ve created a list of some of the things they might not have told you about starting your first big kid job. This list is to help you be prepared for that first day and those first few months. Its aim is to help you transition from your industry job just to make money to your adult job that is in the direction of your final career path. You’re ready; let’s do this!
1. Be Prepared To Jump Right In
Those first few months of your first adult job are going to be a whirlwind. You are going to be thrown a bunch of new information during a short period of time because your trainer needs you to learn as much as you can, as fast as you can. It’s most likely that you will help and work with the person who is training you, so they’re going to want you to learn fast so you can start to lessen the workload they currently have. You were most likely hired because they needed help.
Just remember that you are valued; they need you after all. Just do your best to take notes of everything you are taught. They aren’t going to expect you to remember everything right then and there, but they are going to trust that you will learn as you start working and doing things. After all, you’re an adult and this is an adult job. Try not to get spooked by the amount of information you’ll be thrown when you start. You’ll ease into it as you go.
2. They’ll Expect You To Know Your Stuff
Sometimes we are encouraged to embellish our resume a bit to get that first adult job. You can do this, just remember that whoever hires you is going to expect that you know how to do what you said you did on your resume. So you can embellish, just embellish on things you know you can learn and do quickly so you aren’t panicking when you have to do it for the first time at your new gig.
During your training, your trainer might only briefly touch the things that you said you could do on your resume. They’ll expect that you know how to do it so they’ll focus more on training you to do things that you didn’t list on your resume. When this happens, you need to be prepared to just start doing the things you said you could do with minimal guidance from your trainer. After all, they have their own work to do and if you already know how to do something it makes your job and theirs easier. If you said you could handle Photoshop like a pro or knew how to write proposals, your trainer and your boss will expect you to whip up a completely edited photo on Photoshop or a polished proposal draft quicker than an analytical report on the company’s finances.
3. Ask Questions
This is especially true during your training months at your first adult job. A lot of stuff is going to be thrown at you and if you don’t understand it, you must ask questions so that you can understand it. No one is going to get mad if you ask a ton of questions at the beginning, they’re going to be more upset when you bombard them with technical questions after you told them you could do it and now they expect you to do it without a hitch. I’ve been both a trainer and a trainee and trust me when I say that asking questions during those first few months helps everyone rather than waiting to ask when it’s crunch time. It’s encouraged that you ask questions during the beginning of your first adult job. Everyone wants you to succeed and you can’t do that if you’re constantly confused.
4. Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Once you start working your first adult job full time, you’ll find that it’s going to be a bit tougher to find the energy to do fun things when you get off work. When you get home you’re just going to want to chill not go work out, meet up with friends at a busy bar, or attend an event where you have to be social and engaged. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a total recluse or hermit. You don’t have to become that person who just works and does nothing else.
Once you get into the swing of your first adult job, try to find at least two activities that you know you enjoy doing and make sure to incorporate them into your life. The things I like to do after work are bar trivia with my four best friends, working on the novel I’m writing for at least an hour, and reading a chapter of the book I’m currently reading every night before I go to bed. If you put aside the time to do something for yourself and not just work all the time you’re going to be a lot happier. It’s okay to want to get that money, but you also need to add some fun so you don’t burn yourself out. Granted that first adult job may hinder some of the fun you used to have, but that shouldn’t keep you from doing things for you.
5. It’s OK If It’s Not The Exact Position You Want
Just because it’s your first adult job doesn’t mean that it will be the job you have for the rest of your life. Don’t freak out and think that it’s the only job you’re going to get and it has to be where you work until retirement. There’s a good chance it’s just the job you took to get your foot in the door, so don’t worry if it’s not exactly what you want to be doing with your career. You need a first adult job to ease you into the working world, and if it’s not the position or field of your dreams that’s okay. Just work until you get the experience that you hoped to get while holding down this job, then when you’re ready to move on start looking for something else. Don’t think about getting stuck, always keep your options open.
6. Your Professional Success Does Not Define You
Most of the time we think, “Gotta get good grades, to get into a good college, to graduate and land the job of my dreams” from a pretty young age. Once we have that notion, we put a lot of our energy into accomplishing it, slowly developing a fear of failing. Then when we get our first adult job and we receive our first bout of not-so-positive feedback, we start to panic and think that we suck at the job and have become a complete failure. That is definitely not the case.
The criticism you received is there to make you a better worker, it’s not there to completely shatter who you are as a person. Even if you aren’t doing as well as you hoped you would be doing at your first adult job doesn’t mean that your entire life is going to fall to shambles. It’s important to remember to keep your professional life and your personal life separate. Once you let your professional stress drown your personal success, that’s when you need to worry. You’re going to be alright, even if work sometimes makes it feel like you aren’t.
7. It’s OK To Feel Overwhelmed
There are going to be days when you feel like you just don’t know what you’re doing. I constantly feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. You’re going to feel it for sure during those first few months of your first adult job, and who knows, maybe even after. It’s okay because guess what? There are a lot of us who have no idea what we’re doing sometimes. You aren’t alone. The best thing to do is to remember that a lot of us are just doing the best we can to stay ahead of completely losing our shit. You just got to do your best to keep learning and use what you learn to do your absolute at that first adult job. No one is going to expect you to have it completely together when you first enter the adult world; some people who have been in the adult world way longer than you still don’t have it all together. You’re going to be fine, and just remember, if you aren’t there’s most likely some other adult you know who is going through the same thing. You can talk it out over a glass of wine, then start trying to get it together again the next day.