Jul 14

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4 Things You Should Know Before You Start Your Entry-Level Job

You’ve landed your new entry-level job. Congratulations! You made it through all the interviews with flying colors, and now you’re about to start. It’s an exciting time for you as you prepare to transition from college to career. However, this shift brings with it some surprising changes you might not have realized were in store for you. Here are four ways your first job will differ from your school days.

#1: Your Actions Affect Others

In school, mistakes might have cost you a few percentage points or a letter grade. In the world of work, though, your mistakes will have a much wider reach. They can affect your co-workers, your boss, and even the company you work for. For example, the people around you might have to pick up slack where you drop the ball. Or they might have to miss a deadline to accommodate you. The more aware of this you can be, the better.

#2: Achievement Trumps Brains

You might have been an academic superstar in school. However, those brains won’t count for much in your new job if you aren’t able to translate them into action. No one will cut you slack just for having a lot of potential. No amount of smarts will save you from the consequences if you don’t pull your weight.

#3: Attitude Matters

This is another area where your natural abilities won’t get you points in the workplace. People will notice if you’re disengaged, unfriendly, or downright rude. They’ll also notice if you’re prone to blaming others when things go wrong. You won’t advance as quickly, if at all. Plus, you could even get fired if your attitude is too much at odds with the company’s vibe. You don’t have to be upbeat all the time. A polite and happy demeanor will go a long way toward your success, though.

#4: Vacation Works Differently

No more automatic time off around Thanksgiving. No more summer or winter break. Companies are far less generous with time off than schools are. Yours might give you a few major holidays off, but you’ll have to put in for any additional vacation days you want to take. You’ll also have a set number of vacation days per year and probably a limit on how many days you can take off in a row. That means you’ll have to plan your time off more carefully and intentionally than you might be used to.

With the right mindset and accurate expectations, you’re far more likely to be successful in your first entry-level job. Being aware of the adjustments you’ll need to make can help you prepare.

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