Starting a new career as a young woman takes gumption. Unfamiliar faces, many inquisitive eyes and a job you must learn how to do are all parts of that. It’s easy to face a crisis of confidence and let things get to you. But you must remember to smile and breathe through it until you feel more settled.
Here are four things to focus on when starting a first job or a new career.
Don’t Be Fixed on What You Should Be Doing
Be somewhat flexible about the work that you’re doing and what you expect. Some employers need to see what they feel your capabilities are before assigning you major responsibilities. They need to know that what they assign you will be done well and on time. They could lose clients or disappoint customers if this doesn’t happen, so this represents a risk to them.
Also, bear in mind that if this is your first job or a new career that you have no prior experience in, then you’re an unknown entity. Both qualifications on paper and previous work experience in an unrelated field might not mean much. The actual work tasks likely bear little, if any, direct relation to what you’ve learned in the past. Therefore, for women in a new career, it often comes down to how fast they learn and how adaptable they are to changing requirements on the job.
Keep Your Living Costs Low
The last thing you need is to be overly worrying about balancing the books while learning a job. Try to keep accommodation at no more than 30% of your total income; when it’s closer to 50%, you’ll struggle to make ends meet. Budget carefully to avoid running out of money before the end of the month. Anticipate that you won’t get paid until you’ve completed your first month and have money set aside to cover your expenses during this time. Avoid needing to ask for a salary advance because this looks bad and you cannot catch up easily when starting from a deficit position.
Develop a Thick Skin
While it’s easy to get emotional and let mean comments from co-workers get to you, you cannot afford to be seen as a drama queen. Businesses need dependable people who take things seriously and produce reliable work on time. Bursting into tears because a co-worker said something hurtful because he or she is having a bad day is unfortunately all part of a tough business environment.
Developing a thick skin is not easy for everyone, but necessary in the workplace. While there are genuine grievances which can be taken to the human resources team, when starting a new career or taking a first job, it’s important to avoid being problematic. Getting along with everyone in the office – even if you dislike them – is one component of doing a good job. This does not mean accepting harassment or other behavior which is completely unacceptable, but it does mean knowing how to smoothly deal with prickly people.
Be Open to Learning
While you may be given a job description, work is fluid. Companies often need employees to be flexible about what tasks they will be performing that day. This is especially true for SMEs that cannot afford to hire individuals for every different role and need people who can multi-task without complaint. The more you learn, the more useful you’ll be to the employer. As well as providing better job security, it should help you move up and secure a subsequent pay rise down the line too.
Growth and learning are things that are important in pretty much every industry too, so being open to this from the start will only serve you well in the future. Check out the TweakYourBiz website for a whole host of articles related to growth – aimed at you as a person, and you as part of a business.
Learning the ropes and settling into a new job isn’t always easy. The main thing is to push through the early difficulties until you find your feet. Just knowing that the employer wants you there and reminding yourself of that when any doubts creep in helps to soothe the nerves.