From Dorm Room to Desk: What I Wish I Knew When I Started My First Job

Published Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:40 PM

Smart grads know hindsight is 20-20, so shorten the learning curve in your first job with been-there, done-that insight from experts further along the career path. Our round-up of advice offers both big picture wisdom and concrete, in-the-weeds details that will have you hitting the ground running.

Details, Details

You know the old aphorism about first impressions: make a good one. Be punctual, be polite and put in full days right off the bat. Other tips for impressing include learning co-workers' names and avoiding office gossip. For more ideas, read Your First Days Working at a New Job: 20 Tips to Help You Make a Great Impression.  

The Big Picture (Can Take a While to Come into Focus)

Author, speaker and career coach Curt Rosengren encourages young professionals not to obsess about making the "right" choice when selecting a job or career. In The Most Important Piece of Career Advice for New Grads,  Rosengren advocates viewing the first few years of work as "R & D" for a career arc. The odds of clocking 50-years at one job and retiring with a gold pocket watch are slim to none, so rather than obsessing about making the quote, unquote right choice, new hires should commit to continually making choices.

Rosengren urges novice employees to find a path that seems appealing and then to continually ask, "Is this work something I am passionate about?" and "What don't I like about this work?" Using the first few years as "research and development" for a career trajectory can allow a person to continually reset: exposure to different jobs and roles will provide a deeper understanding of what energizes and inspires you and betters the odds of achieving meaningful work.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started work? What piece of advice would you give your young self at that first real job?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.


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# Motivation to lose weight said on Sunday, April 08, 2012 2:33 AM

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# Tobias said on Thursday, April 26, 2012 4:18 AM

Zdraveite ,izviniavam se za latinicata.bashta mi e na 65 god. i ima snentesi piko4ni putishta i e s katetur ot mnogo meseci,prostata mu e 1 stepen yveli4ena ili mnogo malko. kak moje da  my se podobri sustojanieto? v smisal kak moje piko4nite putishta da se podobrqt i da yrinira normalno ,ne moje da bude s katetur postoqno mislia a i posledniat put sa mu slojili mnogo trydno katetura i razviava infekcii zaradi tozi katetur .Molia daite mi vasheto mneninie.Predvaritelno vi blagodaria

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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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