Your first job can seem daunting and impossible at times.
Luckily, many people have been there and learned the ropes.
A group of Quora users drew from their experiences to address the question, “What were the best things you learned in your first job?” The answers provide ways to make yourself invaluable to your manager and succeed in the workplace.
We’ve highlighted a few below.
1. Attitude is more important than output. Especially early on, establishing that you are a positive, solutions-oriented employee will be more important than actual output, recalls Quora user Michael Chen from his first job at a management consulting firm. “Be a net adder of energy to a room,” he encourages.
2. Pay attention to the small things. If being detail-oriented does not come naturally to you, work at it. “Having checked everything twice, and being really on top of your game is the easiest way to build that trust over time with people you don’t know that well,” Chen says. Another Quora user, Chaitra Murlidhar, recommends re-reading every email you send three times: “What you say is important, but how you say it makes all the difference in the world.”
3. Learn to manage your manager. “Until you are the CEO, regardless of your job title or job description, your actual job is to make your boss/supervisor’s life easier,” writes Chen. “Don’t go to your boss with problems,”
says user Pat Powell. “Go to your boss with solutions.”
4. Always look for new ways to learn. “As long as you’re learning something new, you’re winning,” says Powell. Business coach Tanya Monsef Bunger echoes this sentiment: “Be a sponge and have a thirst for knowledge,” she advices. Make an effort to learn outside of work also; spend time reading off the job, or develop a non-work-related hobby.
5. Use your manners. A “please” and a “thank you” can go a long way, and creating strong relationships with those around you is crucial. “Nobody likes rude or uncouth coworkers,” says Quora user Jon Mixon.
6. It’s not always going to be easy but nothing is impossible. “Things that appear to be screamingly impossible in the morning can seem very trivial by evening,” says user Gaurav Saxena. When faced with an overwhelming task, figure out ways to break it down into smaller parts. A little bit throughout the entire day can go a long way.
7. Know and own your role. Find your niche within the company, and become the point-person and expert for that specific area. User Dorian Dargan likes to call this indispensability “owning your domain.”
8. Don’t get discouraged when problems arise. It’s OK to feel like things aren’t going too well. You were hired for a reason, and “without problems, you wouldn’t have a job,” points out user Kris Lim. Rather than dwelling on the challenges, stay focused, positive, and offer valuable solutions.
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