What to Expect When You're Expecting a New Job

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For most young people today, coming into the workforce is immensely stressful. Learning to navigate your first real job can be dizzying. Hours-long trainings aside, understanding the dynamics of a job is difficult. There are three principles you should remember when you get your first job.

1. Whether you're working your dream job or just something to get you going -- keep an open mind.

Often, first-timers start working believing there are very specific tasks they'll be performing and very particular ways they'll be treated. Scratch that, ASAP.

This isn't saying let employers mistreat you, or even to let them let you slack. Rather, understand that you're entering something completely foreign (it's your first full-time gig!), and to your employers, you're an unknown. Once you feel out the job, you can start thinking about when to assert yourself, either for more responsibilities, or for different ones. But, under no circumstances expect to know exactly what you're doing or how you'll be doing it. It's a process; even the most seasoned professionals go through this when a new boss takes over or they switch companies.

2. Curb expectations.

If you walk in fearing you're useless, or believing you're the greatest, your performance will suffer. Thinking you're useless won't be good for your confidence in the short run, which will ultimately affect your job security. If you don't think you can do anything, you won't. And you could quickly become labeled what you were scared of: another kid who isn't going to accomplish anything. On the other side, if you go in believing you're the greatest asset the company has to offer, you're going to be quickly disappointed. There's a learning curve to everything, particularly in the workforce. Keep a modest perspective, and understand that you have a lot more to understand and become acquainted with. You COULD eventually be the best asset the company has, but you're going to have to prove it.

3. Perhaps most important for new employees is to know this: mistakes are normal, healthy, and impossible to avoid.

We know we make mistakes on a daily basis, whether there was a typo in an email, or we missed a lunch with a friend. If you fret this during your first job, you're creating unnecessary stress. By pressing the panic button, you're leaving yourself open to make more mistakes. Panic is never healthy. Put pressure on yourself to do better, but don't worry too much.

Mistakes are there for you to learn; any reasonable boss isn't going to assume you know something like a computer system within a week. When you make a mistake, ask questions. Otherwise, you won't learn, AND you won't get better! By believing mistakes are abnormal, you're making one failure look like complete failure. Don't doom yourself. Acknowledge the error, and move forward.

Stay positive, and remember these three principles!
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