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Sage advice for those new to the working world

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
So I have a job lined up once I finish up undergrad, and I'm going into my final quarter of college. I'll be working in the IT department of a Fortune 500 company.

I'm fortunate ( ) enough to be located close enough to the office that I'll be living at home with the parents for the first year and move out once I save up, to make things easier on me.

Just wanted some insight on entering the working world:

  • How should I differentiate myself to start my career on a solid note?
  • Transition from college to work
  • Work/Social/Health/Family balance
  • Saving for retirement
  • Etc...
post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandrake9072 View Post
  • How should I differentiate myself to start my career on a solid note? not sure what you mean. just go start working and do your best.
  • Transition from college to work i dunno, just start working. what transition?
  • Work/Social/Health/Family balance youll figure it out. this is case by case basis, you know your situation, we dont.
  • Saving for retirement find out about 401k , espp, and such. talk to your HR perhaps.
  • Etc...

..
post #3 of 33
With sho on this one.

1. At an entry level job I wouldnt try to differentiate. You wont be at this job for life, but if you try to be the "Unique" (weird) guy you wont be there as long as YOU like.

You learn more on the job than you ever will in class, so just be attentive and willing to anything, grunt.

2. LOL. what transition? Buy some new clothes, get a haircut, wake up on Monday and go. Learn to apprecaite happy hours and your weekends. Duh. Are kids these days that dumb?

3. Balance of life is fine. Sorry, might have to cut back on video games an hour a day.

4. Join their 401k and match it. take 5k and invest it in a target Roth IRA retirement account, asap. Repeat.
post #4 of 33
once you clock in, work your ass off. and be nice to your co-workers.
post #5 of 33
Advice from someone who's been in the workforce for almost a year:

1) umm... work hard? don't be super outspoke
2) congrats, everything you learned in college is pretty much bull junk. welcome to the real world. the first few months will suck. then magically it'll get better.
3) can't answer that one.
4) get in on your employer's 401K, max that out. do research on the net.
post #6 of 33
- be sure to toot your own horn. There are no grades at work, so management isn't going to know about your accomplishments unless you tell them - always be on the lookout for a better gig (internal or external), your career is your responsibility, not the company's - max out retirement funds and live well below your means, beware of "lifestyle creep"
post #7 of 33
1. Be nice, be helpful, be interested, and be diligent. There's really not that much you can do to "differentiate" yourself as a new hire. Just be agreeable and you will do well. The strategy and back stabbing is for the corner office folks. People who try to do it at the entry level are reviled.

2. The transition will involve learning to wake up earlier and setting your work clothes out the day before. Everything else will happen on the job.

3. I've found that I have more time for friends, family, exercise, etc. now that I'm working than I did when I was in school. If you're working a 9-5 you'll probably end up enjoying all the newfound free time, ironically enough.

4. If you employer has a 401K, contribute from day one. Also, set up a savings account that automatically takes money from your paycheck and deposits it in a savings account. It's painless and the best part is that everything in your checking account becomes "your" money, so to speak. That way you don't have to constantly check your spending if you don't want to because you know you've already socked the money away.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtmt View Post
- be sure to toot your own horn. There are no grades at work, so management isn't going to know about your accomplishments unless you tell them
- always be on the lookout for a better gig (internal or external), your career is your responsibility, not the company's
- max out retirement funds and live well below your means, beware of "lifestyle creep"

I agree whole-heartedly on all points, less so on point 3 simply because I don't feel I'm far enough in my career that I am qualified to comment so much on that. But I can still see it is sound advice. To add:
-Veterans in the industry are absolutely invaluable as sounding boards and sources of industry knowledge and experience. Recognize what they do well, and after a while you will also be able to recognize what they do not do so well, you can learn from both. Try to incorporate as much of what you can into your career "life".
-Mold your position to reflect your strengths, and then learn to delegate responsibilities early on. There is a fine line between working hard and working inefficiently. Hard work is rarely viewed as a bad thing but who wants to work hard for the rest of their lives? The bullet points of "job functions" that you see when you first apply for a position shouldn't dictate what you do for the rest of your career. Focusing on the points that best flatter your strengths and shedding the rest onto others can show both ambition, entrepreneurship and foresight if done diplomatically. There's also a fine line between delegation (I personally have started to hate this word but I use it for lack of anything more suitable) and simply passing the buck. Nobody likes the "not-my-job" attitude, and trying to push things off your plate and onto others' without sound business justification is not a good thing to be recognized for. Yes, there is a lot of personal opinion in this point and some may disagree or simply feel this is not applicable for all industries or people, I can understand that and I know SF is not known for holding back on criticism.
-Finally, I don't think dtmt's first point can be emphasized enough. Its not bragging or being boastful, its about pointing things out to the people who are benefitting from your performance and who are in a position to compensate you. Everyone has their own style of doing this and its easier for some than others (personally I am an extremely humble person so this has been a long, hard lesson for me to learn) but the sooner you find a way you're comfortable doing this, the quicker you'll find yourself progressing to where you want to be in your career.
post #9 of 33
Whichever job you find where you can tolerate the coworkers -- that's the only job you'll ever be able to tolerate for any time.

When you hate getting up in the morning, quit. There's always another job.
post #10 of 33
Advice @ Work
- Be reliable
- Do not have an opinion about anything at work, just do your job and check out
- Max out 401K
- Find out what your company offers for training, very few things better than a free education/certification
- Do not date anyone from work
- If you need to take a dump at work, it's less awkward doing it on a different floor

Advice Outside of Work
- Set a partying budget and stick to it (keep it as low as possible)
- Do not buy a fancy car
- Try to save as much money as possible
- Automate all your bills
- Never ever sleep on the couch for extended periods of time
post #11 of 33
Avoid the drama queen / gossiper who goes to you to complain about how screwed up your organization is and how bad the bosses are. Those people are time sucks who decrease morale.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Staggerlee View Post
Avoid the drama queen / gossiper who goes to you to complain about how screwed up your organization is and how bad the bosses are. Those people are time sucks who decrease morale.

There's one (at least) in every office. Just pretend that you empathize with them without criticizing the organization yourself and it should blow over.
post #13 of 33
Know why you go to work.

-Work to get money to pay bills, period.

-Don't go to work to make friendships and seek personal validations. Leave those for home/outside of work

Loyalty is good, be loyal to your company.

And always remember the paycheck next time you feel like you are entitled to something at work. The paycheck is what you are entitled to for working. No more, no less. Anything else and you can count on being dissapointed.
post #14 of 33
I work in corporate IT. Brad Whitford has a line in the West Wing when he is dressing down an intern: "Do your job and do it great." Just focus on that. Many of your colleagues will do the minimum to satisfy requirements. Make sure you knock a few out of the park. Put in extra hours, do your own research, find the project that's been sitting around forever and crush it. People will notice.
post #15 of 33
Seek to network (lunch, happy hour, taking on extra work, intramural sports) with those above you and in different groups. Comes in handy when bonus and promotion season is at hand. NEVER lose your cool. Never complain to co-workers or your superiors. Leave that at home.
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