What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My First Full-Time Job
Making the leap from the instability of casual employment to the nine-to-five is a meaningful step on the path of adulthood – and what a way to make a livin’ right? Well, as a newbie to the world of full-time employment, I can certainly say the leap from casual work was pretty bloody daunting, and has brought up some mixed feelings.
Whether it’s your first ‘real job’ post grad or you’re breaking in to an entirely new industry, uncharted territory is always scary AF, and but it doesn’t have to be terrifying. So, to ease your mind, I’m here to share all I wish I knew before heading into my first full time job.
When you’re working casual jobs, you never really have a concrete schedule, meaning you’re working random hours with sometimes-long breaks between shifts. This makes it pretty easy to grow accustomed to midday sleep-ins and afternoon naps. Unfortunately, making the move to the nine-to-five might compromise your relationship with your bed.
You tell your bed, ‘it’s not you… it’s me’, before coming home late and smelling of your office chair who you’re insisting is just a friend.
Although you’re sacrificing a few extra hours of slumber, getting into a routine is infinitely better. You’ll have a clearer head, be more productive and waking up earlier certainly has its perks.
Besides, if you can’t bear the thought of giving up sleep-ins just save them for the weekend because guess what? YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORK THEM ANYMORE!
Full-time means FULL time
Ah, the days of waking up, deciding you don’t really feel like working, calling your friend who owes you a shift swap and spending the day at home watching TV instead – the true glory days. Unfortunately, they’re now in the distant past because the deal with full-time work is you’re expected to be there full time.
This isn’t saying you have to become a work robot whose sole purpose is to be at the office: annual leave and days off do exist, as well as chucking the odd sickie (when you’re actually sick).
Although you’re full time, most casual jobs would have had you tied down to work most weekends, which honestly, is almost criminal. Now, you’re lucky because weekends are work free, baby!
The real world is way better than uni
Sure, this statement is totally subjective – I don’t know your life. But personally, I think having a job is way better than school. It’s kind of like the sweet reward for putting in the hard yards.
You put in the hours expanding your knowledge and learning, dealt with being dirt poor and now, if you’re lucky you’ve found an awesome job that you love and feel valued at.
Even if you didn’t get a tertiary education, the rule still applies. Chances are you got your current gig based on your skills and experience and being able to use these to support yourself is super liberating.
Winging it? Don’t sweat it
Starting at your first ‘real job’ and attempting to retain as much information as possible while trying to do the absolute best you can be hard sometimes. You might feel as though you’re winging it a bit at times, and that is totally OK.
You might think that university or previous experience should’ve 100% prepared you for your role, but the truth is, almost all the learning will be on the job.
While small failures may make you feel shitty or incompetent at times, take them with a grain of salt – your life will be so much better when you can look at these small stumbles as learning opportunities rather than catastrophes. You’ll be better at your job because of them.
It’s important to speak up
When you start, it can be intimidating when you need answers to questions. Who do you ask? Is what I am asking a dumb question? Should I just try and figure it out myself? Asking yourself these questions is totally normal, but it’s important to know it’s OK to speak up.
Think about the questions you want to ask, and see if you can identify someone at your work that you think might have the answers. If you’re still coming up blank, ask your supervisor to point you in the right direction.
It’s way better to just bite the bullet and ask questions. Your boss wants you to do your best, and if you’re left in the dark, unsure of what’s going on you’re simply not going to be doing your best.
You’ll be fine
Honestly, going into something blind can be terrifying, but you can always find solace in remembering that you were hired for a reason. You’re going to be kickass and everything will be FINE!
If that poor attempt at a motivational speech failed, just get a nice little pump-up playlist prepared for your first day.
Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey comedies and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.