Congratulations! You graduated college and you’re working at your first full time job. You get to experience new situations and struggles, and you have to handle them like an adult – even if you don’t feel like one yet. If you’re thinking ‘what did I just get myself into,’ don’t fret! There is a proper way to handle new work situations like the adult you technically are.
Here are five struggles you’ll experience when starting your first full-time job – and how to
1. Negotiating the job offer.
This company wants you – that’s a good sign. You might be able to work that to your advantage. While your initial reaction may be to just accept whatever they give you, you might be able to negotiate the job offer to best suit your needs.
Within reason, you can negotiate on types of projects you will work on, vacation time, and health benefits. Read the situation. If you are highly experienced and in demand, you can more easily get away with negotiating than if you are straight out of college with no real work experience. Do your research and see what the hiring and benefits trends are in similar companies and positions with your work experience, and you can get a good deal. Glassdoor.com is the best for this!
2. Getting up before the sun.
Whoever decided that office jobs should start so damn early was obviously a sadist who hated sleep. If you’re working an 8-5, and you don’t live 5 minutes away from work, there is a good chance you will have to wake up before the sun even rises in order to get ready for work and be there on time. Adding your commute on to getting ready – and sometimes working out! – you are going to have to set up a routine that doesn’t involve hitting the snooze button until the last possible second.
Starting a day stressed out from sleeping late can make the rest of your day an overwhelming disaster. Setting up a good sleep and morning routine, like going to bed early, waking up at your first alarm,and taking time to enjoy breakfast, is essential for creating a stress free morning every day. Before you know it, you’ll become a morning person (or a person who is slightly more functional in the morning than usual) and going to work every day won’t be that bad.
3. Staying productive.
This is a tough one, especially for those of us who worked at internships where we were micromanaged and often checked up on. But now you’re in an environment that gives you a task and expects you to finish it without much follow up. This is both freeing and terrifying. It’s easy to fall into a trap of non-productivity in this kind of situation.
There are ways to help yourself stay productive at work. Prioritize your tasks, and get the more difficult tasks done early in the day. Create a system for common tasks, and do those when you are not wanting to concentrate so hard. Don’t multi task, and don’t skip your breaks! Breaks are important for sanity!
4. Dealing with unsavory coworkers.
In a perfect world, all of your coworkers would be amazing, agreeable, and hygienic; but of course, that is a fantasy. Whether it’s a personality clash, an actual feud, or just a smelly coworker, you are going to have problems with some of your fellow employees from time to time.
You need to find a way to address uncomfortable or difficult situations in a tactful way to maintain a pleasant working environment; and you definitely want keep work as a pleasant a place as it can be when you are with the same people 40 hours a week.
5. Asking for a raise.
Entry level jobs almost never pay well. But after you have spent a year or so and put in some really great work, you might be thinking you should get a raise. Money talk is always a sensitive issue, and in order to successfully ask for a raise you have to do it the right way. Do your research and know the market trends in your industry. What are people being paid in similar positions at other companies?
Time the conversation to your benefit; schedule a meeting during a low stress time in your company so that your boss isn’t in a bad mood. Toot your own horn, loudly! Talk about everything you’ve accomplished and what merits you bring to the company. Play your cards right, and you’ll be making it rain! (onto your student loans).
It’s a little scary getting your first full-time office job, but don’t sweat it. Like all new things you will learn, find your stride, and be successful. Having a little help with the more difficult struggles is certainly nice, but overall YOU GOT THIS!