Your First (or Brand New) Job: Lessons Learned from Women Who Have Been There

By: Grace Peters, Editorial Analyst, The Memo

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, 'There you are' and those who say, 'Here I am.'” - Pauline Phillips

Some new hires are the “here I am!” kind of employees: seeking praise for every accomplishment. Managers do not always have time for that. The “there you are” new employees, on the other hand, spend their time listening and observing. They watch and listen carefully to get the lay of the land. They learn how things are done and follow their supervisor’s instructions.

For those of you embarking on your first job this summer, here are a few basic tips – including some things many wish they had known at their first jobs. These tips are also useful for those of you transitioning careers and beginning at a brand new workplace.

1. Learn office procedures and follow basic protocol. – Gail E., Attorney

2. Follow directions and ask questions if you’re not sure how your supervisor wants something done (but don’t be a pest!) – Liz L., Professor

3. Understand office politics. – Jessica B., Teacher

4. Be friendly, but don’t gossip! – Gracie P., Intern

5. Be diplomatic. – Theresa K., Writer

6. Watch out for other burnouts! The people who complain all day about the job and directly or indirectly try to bring you down in the process. Don’t let them! – Sam C.

7. Read a lot of articles and books about your industry. Know how to use business software. If you’re confused about something, use Google rather than giving up at the first roadblock! – Ellen S., Realtor

8. Network, Network, NETWORK. – Everyone!

Tell us about your first job! What would you add to this list?