Photo credit (above): Carla de Souza Campos | Flickr
By SARAH TAN
The antagonist has been killed, the problems have been overcome, and your play is coming to a close. It’s time for the main actor’s closing monologue. Such is the case in our series of Entering Work.
It’s your first day in the office, or wherever you work. You’re nervous and scared. Your palms are sweating your heart is pumping you don’t know where to sit, you don’t know what her name is, should you ask her should you not, and, wait a minute. Where did your supervisor go?
It was hectic and exhausting, and not quite how you imagined it to be. (Nothing ever is!) In spite of it all, you manage to pull through anyway. At the end of the day, as you go through your daily reflection, you stop and wonder. How could I have been a better employee/intern?
Here are a few tips on being a good first time employee:
As an employee/intern, you’re there to make your boss’ life easier. Apart from working hard and doing your work well, you can also help by taking initiative.
After getting used to your workplace culture, you would be able to spot the needs that have to be filled. Once you are able to, offer your help wherever it is required.
However, also consider the workload that you have – don’t bite off more than you can chew!
A sadly supposedly common feat in the workplace today: gen Ys with high demands.
As important as it is to know your rights and ensure that you have it, when it comes to work, sometimes we just have to accept that we may be stuck with the ‘unfulfilling intern tasks’ in the beginning.
Nonetheless, be positive and grateful with the work opportunities that you have! There is always a chance to learn and grow from something – we just need to adjust our perception of things.
We are always told to “think before you speak” to communicate clearly. However, apart from that, how do we communicate effectively?
One way we can do so is by trying to understand our colleagues – what motivates them, what challenges they face, how they like to be appreciated.
This can be created through simple conversation. Take breaks from work every once in a while and stop by their desk to have a little chat. At the same time, be aware of their body language. If they are busy and want to get back to work, apologise and excuse yourself.
As a result of this mutual understanding and familiarity with each other’s habits, a better relationship between you and your colleague is formed, therefore improving your work chemistry together.
Feedback is important for personal growth to be better workmates and leaders.
I can give you as much personal advice as possible, but it will never beat the advice of your own employer or workmates. Being people who have worked with you, they know your limits, circumstances, and abilities. Unlike my article, their feedback is customised specifically for you.
Every once in a while, pull your supervisor aside and ask if you can schedule a short ‘review meeting’. Tell them that you would like to hear honest feedback on your work performance – I’m sure they would be happy to.
Remember to be open and teachable in order to take the feedback given well. At the same time, know yourself well enough to discern misdirected feedback from valuable feedback.
Lastly, remember to strive for excellence. Don’t take your first job as “just a part time job”, “just an internship”, or “nothing big”. If you feel insignificant in the workplace, make yourself significant through hard work and a good attitude.
Excel in everything you do, and you’re bound to be noticed and appreciated – though at the same time, we mustn’t depend our self-value on the appreciation of others.
All the best, and see you in the next article!