From First Job to Success
Times have changed. Back when I was a kid, my parents began teaching me about “work” from early on, so when I got my first real job at twelve-years-old I had a pretty good grasp of what was expected, what was accepted, and what was not.
Today’s children are raised with an emphasis on school, team sports, and video games, so when they go after their first job, they’re often not well prepared – especially if they get it. (That’s not a social commentary, it’s just the way it is.) So, here are five things that will help you when you land your first job.NOTE
- Your First Job is an Investment in Your Future. It doesn’t make any difference whether you want to be an aerospace engineer, an actor, a programmer, or an entrepreneur. Your first job is the first step to getting where you’re going, even if it’s washing dogs or delivering pizza fliers door-to-door. If you invest in the job and give it your all, you’ll get a reputation … and a recommendation from your employer that will be valuable for the next step in your career path. A great reputation and a stellar recommendation will take you further than you can possibly imagine. Build a strong foundation and you’ll build a solid future.
- It’s Called “Work” for a Reason. Everyone wants to have a job they love, where they feel they’re making a difference, and they’re encouraged, challenged, and affirmed. But virtually no one ever starts their career life with that job. Most of us begin with an entry-level job cutting grass, serving fries, mucking stables, or sweeping floors. And even if you do land your dream job at the beginning, there are always parts of the job you’ll detest. But that’s why it’s called work. You have to work at it. The fact is, you took the job so you could make some money. You’re going to get paid no matter what your boss asks you to do. So do it for the paycheck.
- A Can-Do Attitude Guarantees a Will-Do Success Formula. How you approach your first job, no matter how menial it might be, largely determines whether you’ll rise to the top, float in the middle, or sink to the bottom. The most important thing you bring to a job is your attitude. Those who rise above their peers are the ones who don’t just do their jobs, they do their jobs well. If you’re being paid $10 an hour, give your employer $15 and hour’s worth of productivity. If your job is to refill customer’s coffee cups, refill them when they’re still halfway full, not all the way empty. If you get done sweeping the floors, look to see what needs doing and jump on it. When your employer says to clean to toilets, grab a bucket with a smile (and make that porcelain sparkle). Your can-do attitude will quickly set you apart from your peers and your career path will begin to rise.
- Thou Shalt Not Steal. This should be obvious, but if you’re conscientious in this, it will pay dividends for your future … guaranteed. I’m not talking about stealing money from the till or headsets from the Stereo Department (though that kind of stealing should be an obvious “thou shalt not”). The kind of stealing I’m talking about is this: You’re being paid by the hour to work for an hour. And if you don’t work for that hour, you’ve behaved no better than the employee who slipped that concert t-shirt into their lunch bag. If you’re on the clock, but you’re playing Fortnight, Candy Crush, or checking your Instagram or Reddit account you’re every bit the thief a shoplifter is. And when you get caught, your perceived value plummets in the eyes of your employer. Again, your job is an investment in your future. Protect that investment by increasing your value … if there’s “nothing to do,” either find something to do on your own (bonus value points) or go ask your boss. Don’t steal from them by thieving the money they’re paying you.
- Life’s Not Fair. It’s Never Been Fair. It’s Not Going to Be Fair. Succeed Anyway. If there’s one thing you need to know it’s this: In the real world, everyone doesn’t get a trophy for participating. There are winners in life and there are losers. And the winners are the ones who keep on keepin’ on even when life’s not fair. Every successful person has had to deal with failure. Every successful person has had to deal with someone else’s underhanded cheating. Every successful person has had to deal with someone else taking credit for work they’d done. And they didn’t become successful because they retaliated … they became successful because they learned a valuable lesson, shook it off, applied that lesson (like not trusting the cheat), and they continued on their success-path anyway. Sometimes that means they had to change jobs, but most of the time, it meant that they just had to show up for work the next day with a Can-Do attitude … because in the long run, life may not be fair, but those who overcome unfairness and adversity invariably rise to the top in spite of the odds. And just for the record, that’s not fair either.
So, there you have it. Five things you’ll need to know to succeed in your first job. There are lots of other things as well, and a Google search about My First Job will remind you about what to wear and so on. But if you’ll put these five things into practice, you’ll come out ahead in the long run. They’re key to a full, successful, meaningful, and abundant life.