So, you landed your first real big boy/girl job… Congrats! Gone are the days of scooping ice cream, shepherding crying campers, and asking “Do you want fries with that?” because you wear suits or heels to work now. Applause, applause.
Here are some things to remember for your first gig as an “adult” in the “real world”:
1. Fake it til you make it
There are going to be some things that the boss throws at you that completely stump you. Probably on the first day. Probably four times that day. You’ll wonder if you can even do this job and what the hell you just got yourself into. Put on your big kid pants, flash them a smile, and never let them see you sweat- and remember, everyone else, even the people who look like they have it together, are doing the same thing.
2. Your most important asset is a good mentor
You’ll find that absolutely nothing in the workplace is as important as a good mentor. You need someone you can trust to be honest with you on your performance, guide you through the rough spots, and show you the ropes. Remember that real mentors provide constructive criticism; at times they might seem harsh, but they’re just looking out for you in the long run. Choose wisely.
3. Dress the part
As much as it can suck sometimes, the truth is that first impressions are important. Bite the bullet and make an investment in a few real professional pieces of clothing, because one of the easiest ways to fake it til you make it is to dress like you belong. The higher-ups will know that you’re taking your job seriously and your confidence will spike when you feel like a million bucks. (Trust me, just buy the suit.)
4. It’s okay to ask for help
Everyone around you, even the CEO, has had times when they’ve had to reach out to others for help, and there’s no shame in that. If you’re really floundering and completely at a loss, swallow your pride and ask for help. Learn from those experiences and mistakes, make sure you thank the people that get you through, and return the favor whenever you can. Being mature enough to ask for help? Wow, you ARE an adult.
5. You’re still young
You’re going to get stressed out and overwhelmed, but at the end of the workweek your friends will still be there at your favorite bar to help you let loose. Don’t take yourself too seriously- you’re still young, and you should embrace that. Don’t become one of those people that gets sucked into work and doesn’t do anything else. Live your life, do new things, and enjoy yourself before you wake up 20 years older wondering where all the time went.
6. You totally got this
They hired you for a reason, and it’s because you can totally do this. You know more than you think you do, you look good, and nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Go get em, kid.