Things I Wished I Knew When I Started Working 😣

By Mel Sim

We share them so you’ll know it too….

Ah, your first day at work. Filled with trepidation, anxiety, excitement, and possibilities. It is also filled with many unknowns – where will I sit, what do I do when I’m asked to email a client to schedule a meeting, who do I go to for office supplies, where will I have lunch?

From work-related issues to the not-so-work-related stuff, you will spend a lot of time on your first job trying to figure out, well, working. It can be a daunting experience especially since you want to look like you know exactly what you’re doing but inside, you’re feeling completely overwhelmed!

We got some tips from those who’ve been there to show you that you’re not alone.

“I was a nervous newbie at my first job! I was shy, didn’t want to talk much or contribute at meetings, let my more confident peers take the limelight at meetings with clients. I was always fearful of saying the wrong things or sounding silly so I minimized speaking up. Looking back, I should have been more visible and shared more of my opinion so I wouldn’t be sidelined for cool projects and promotion. It took me a while to get there while my peers made more of an impression on my boss. So my advice is to speak up if you can; there’s no right or wrong question!” - MEL, GRADUAN® EDITOR

“I wished I knew how to communicate better with clients. I also learnt as a fresh hire that not everyone would be nice to you. Plus, that I should work within my limit and learn to say no when there’s too much on my plate. As I dealt with more personalities and became more confident of my role, I felt more at ease voicing my opinion and expressing myself. It takes time but don’t worry, you’ll get there. It’s true when they say every day is a learning opportunity!” - CHARISMA, GRADUAN® WRITER

“How to write emails professionally, especially to clients. Everything was new and knowing how to communicate properly in an office setting was a challenge in the beginning. So if can, learn what makes for a professional email and take note of how your superiors are writing it so you can learn a thing or two. I just went with the flow and eventually got better at it.” - DANIA, GRADUAN® WRITER

“I wished I knew how to read between the lines! Not everything is set in stone for you as a newbie so you really have to interpret what is required of you and make sense of what everyone is talking about. And there are many mixed messages or people just assuming that you know. I made some mistakes along the way but I quickly learnt that all you have to do is speak up and ask. Plus, take every experience or even mistake as a learning opportunity. You really do get better at work every day!” – KEVIN, SENIOR MANAGER

“How things worked in my office! There were so many departments and it was a huge office. Everyone had their own roles and responsibilities. It was confusing at first trying to navigate the whole organizational chart but I soon learnt who I had to consult for specific requirements. You know how you are introduced to everyone during orientation? Take note of that – it will come in handy! And find an ally in the office who can help show you the rope.” – MELISSA, BANKER

“That I wouldn’t end up in the same industry! I studied graphics design in school, had sights on working in the media, which I did for four years, but got disillusioned about the industry and decided to try new things. I went freelance, worked for an automobile company, worked in healthcare, ran my own small café and eventually ended up being an e-commerce seller which I am doing really well right now. It goes to say that you just never know!” – JOE, ENTREPRENEUR

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