I can’t believe how fast time is moving. When I was travelling on my year out of uni, I practically had no sense of time. Time did not constrain me. I booked flight when I wanted, and returned when I wanted (as long as it didn’t make my bank account bleed too much). Now that I am working, I think about time almost all the time.
The more I think about time, the more I realise how fast it moves. Last year (2016) went by in a breeze. To me, I think it was one of my best years, thus far. It was probably because I was away so much that I didn’t have to deal with the realities of my life (lol).
Last year, when my friends told me they had been at their jobs for 6 months, I was always shocked. It always felt shorter than that. The truth is, it does move fast, and the following are 6 major things I’ve learned thus far, in my first job out of university.
1. No one expects you to know anything
This is so true. No matter where you start, whether that is a ‘normal’ job or a Grad scheme, no one really expects you to know a lot. It was because of this exact reason that I was so adamant on getting on a grad scheme. The truth was, is, I didn’t want to fu$k up in a ‘normal’ job (jobs which are not advertised as structured training roles). However, in essence, no good company is going expect you to know what you’re doing in the first month, no matter how detailed they were in the job description. With most companies, this is the stage where they allow candidates to find their footing, including learning people’s names.
2. Learn people’s names
On the note of names, which I so tragically struggle with, it’s important to start building relationships with your colleague. Learning people’s names gives the idea that you make an effort, because when it comes down to it, there are probably tens or possible hundreds of names in your company (depending on your team/company size). Making that extra effort will go a long way. Unfortunately, I’ve self-diagnosed that I suffer from nominal aphasia, so I simply smile when I can’t remember someone’s name.
3. Good candidates are hired. Great candidates look further. Outstanding candidates get involved
I still struggle with this from time to time, but as time goes on, it becomes natural. In regards to No.1 and No.2, you’ll probably not have a ton of work, so instead of sulking, use it as an opportunity. You can use this time to study project procedures, documentation, annoy your manager a bit about getting some work, or if you really want to be proactive, speak with senior managers in your department to see where you can help. In their eyes, doing those is a way to show your determination. By doing exactly, I was able to travel abroad several times for a few days to a week, and at the time, I was at the three months going four months in.
4. Harsh judgement doesn’t necessarily mean dislike
This may be harder to accept but it’s true. I found this hard, and I still do, especially if I don’t completely understand the feedback. Sometimes, maybe, your manager is just mean, but most times, s/he is not. Harsher feedback can be for a number of reasons, including:
- They assumed you respond better to hard love for some reason
- Pushing you to develop. This is especially true in fast stream programs, such grad schemes, or similar schemes, where you are trained to take a future management role, from day one.
- There is something in you they saw – which is why you were hired in the first place, but are not reaching your potential
- You do not exude confidence and they wish to build you (this can have the opposite effect)
5. Must always looking forward and beyond
By the time you hit the 5 months mark, you should give yourself a tap on the back. This is because, one, you have probably past that probation period which you were trying so hard not to think about. Two, you’re a month away from that 6 months mark – half a year – it went fast didn’t it? You hardly noticed. Calm down, don’t panic, you’re not getting old…..yet. You still have hope. However, by this time, you’ve also noticed the changes which you made, internally and professionally. Even though you felt they were small changes, compared to your first month, it’s a huge gap. And the most important thing that you could learn, is that the present is always moving, and you should always look forward. Therefore, whatever you may be struggling with now in your job, in a couple of months, is going to seem small.
6. Always look to improve
This is something that I’m learning every day and will probably need to think about it throughout my career. When I spoke with mentor, he reiterated this point; ‘we’re always improving, always learning and should strive to always be better.’ This is true even if you’ve soared through an organisation and are now running it – if you’re not looking to improve yourself or learning, it means you’re dead.