Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: A Year in Reflection

“There is no substitute for hard work” – Thomas Edison

I’ve been at my first post-grad job for about a year and a half now, and thus far it has been a whirlwind of learning experiences. If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ll know that I did a brief reflection after my first week on the job. Needless to say, after only a week on the job, I had no idea what lay ahead for me in my position.

A Brief HistoryInitially, I was hired on to take over our Social Media Strategist’s position while she was on maternity leave. She’d been at the company for about five years at the time, and is  beyond fantastic at her job. Daunting was an understatement. As turbulent as it seemed at the time, I found that I really enjoyed the position, namely because I was gaining more global experience than I ever thought I would. Upon her return in January, I was handed over some of the same responsibilities I was doing in her position, such as branding/merchandising, writing press releases, and managing local trade shows and conferences. These items, as well as a few others, are what I’m currently responsible for in my position.

Here are a few lessons I’ve taken away from my first year in corporate America:

  • You will make mistakes. Accept them. Learn from them. Early on, I was terrified of making any mistakes, but it turned out that I was preventing myself from learning. After a series of events and some self reflection, I finally acknowledged that it is all part of being human, and the learning process.
  • Be hungry to learn. Take on every learning opportunity you are given even if it scares you; something truly great could come out of the experience. If an opportunity is not directly presented to you, it does not hurt to ask! In fact, it will make you an exemplary employee.
  • Ask questions unapologetically. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out that my co-workers are not going to get mad at me or annoyed with me if I have a question. It’s always better to ask a question, rather than assuming and doing something wrong. You are not expected to know everything when you first start out. Be sure not to ask the SAME question over and over again – this is where you’ll piss people off.
  • Find yourself a mentor. Being one of the youngest people in the company is a challenge in itself. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with an awesome team that genuinely wants me to succeed.
  • Don’t take things too personally. This is something that I’m still struggling with, and – quite frankly – I think it takes a while to learn.
  • Leave work at work. I CANNOT emphasize this enough! You will have a much healthier work-life balance if you leave anxieties and stress pertaining to work at the door on your way out. You work to live, you don’t live to work.
  • Take care of yourself outside of work. If you’re not at your best outside of work, there’s absolutely no way you can bring your best foot forward at work. Take at least an hour out of your day to relax and “treat yo’self”.

Not too shabby for YEAR 1! It was no easy feat, yet I’ve learned a lot about myself and grown immensely throughout the process. Obviously there is still much more to learn throughout my career, and I’m beyond excited to see what the future holds!

-K.

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