Entering the workforce (and finally becoming a productive member of society, according to your parents) is a significant milestone in any person’s life. However, it can be hard to navigate this newfound responsibility! Luckily, men and women recently met in an online discussion and revealed their tips for what every person needs to start doing when they finally land that first job.
Table of Contents
1. Contribute to a 401(k)
According to most workers, contributing to your employer’s 401(k) plan is the best advice a new worker can receive. Never pass up an opportunity to build your future and achieve financial freedom, especially if your employer will match whatever you contribute! If you choose not to do this, you say no to free money.
2. Never Be Complacent
Don’t rest on your laurels. Now that you’re in the workforce, you should always search for ways to increase your earning power, even if it means constantly looking for new, better-paying jobs. “Always be on the lookout for better pay and better positions,” advises one man. “Forget about the idea of loyalty to any one company because it’s not in your best interests.”
3. Don’t Bring Your Work Drama Home With You
I get it; work can bring its fair share of drama into your life. However, anyone new to the workforce must resist bringing drama home, as juicy as it may be! Remember, your work ordeals are yours alone, and you shouldn’t burden family or friends with the stressors that work-related drama carries.
4. Set Standards That You Can Easily Exceed
Work smarter, not harder. A handful of people advise you to set expectations low so you give off a perception of always overachieving. “Always work at 60% capacity, so when you give 80%, your boss thinks it’s 110%,” one savvy woman reveals. “It prevents burnout on your end and gives your boss reasonable expectations of you.”
5. Show up a Few Minutes Early
While I’m not advocating working for free, routinely showing up for work a few minutes early each day will undoubtedly make you stand out in the eyes of your boss. Trust me, it will be hard enough to climb the ranks moving forward, so if you can build a reputation as someone who consistently arrives to work early, it will go a long way in the eyes of your superiors.
6. Be Social
Would you rather be friends or enemies with your co-workers? Most people agree that forming a bond with the people you work with can make work seem, well, less like work. “Make friends with your co-workers early on because a little bit of office camaraderie can go a long way in making the daily grind more enjoyable!” confesses one woman.
7. Learn To Say No
Countless workers agree: Train yourself to stop saying yes to everything. If you always say yes, your co-workers (and potentially your boss) will see you as an easy target, making it infinitely easier for them to walk over you later on. Don’t be the office pushover!
8. Set Boundaries
Many workers report being overwhelmed with work to the point where they no longer have a personal life. Setting boundaries is crucial to a healthy work/life balance. “Set boundaries early and remember to have a life outside of work,” reveals one man. “I work in law, so long hours almost seem to be glorified. It is easy to find yourself working from six in the morning to midnight with no idea how to stop it without missing deadlines. It is easier to set boundaries early than try to do it later. It gets you in the habit of not living to work.”
9. Appreciate the Commute
As a workforce member, you must find joy in the little things. I’ve learned to appreciate my commute, which gives me time to relax before and after work. I’ve turned my 45-minute commute into the perfect time to catch up with friends and family on the phone. As a result, my current job has made me get even closer to the people I care about!
10. Don’t Forget To Take Breaks
The quiet respites from work are the best part of millions of people’s workdays, so don’t forget to take breaks! You should never pass up on an opportunity to relax. “Never underestimate the power of a good breather, so take short breaks to keep your mind rejuvenated and unleash your inner productivity beast!” advises one woman.
11. Snack Often
Whether it’s a banana, a granola bar, or leftovers from last night, don’t forget to snack early and often! Standard eight-hour work days can drag at specific points, and you’ll be glad you brought a snack or two the first time you are counting down the minutes to a lunch break that doesn’t begin for another four hours!
12. Start Saving Money
As soon as you start having money come in, you owe it to yourself to save a portion immediately! Always think about your future. “Save money now,” explains one man. “Take a percentage of your paycheck and put it in a savings account you don’t have immediate access to. That’s your emergency fund. Start with $1,000. Go up from there.”
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