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Jobseeker Career Advice

Your First Job

The World of Work

If you are starting your first job after school, it can be a bit of a shock to the system. The world of work is very different to full-time education and many school leavers struggle with adjusting to working for a living. If you have never held a job before, it can take some time getting used to what is expected of you.

Firstly, you need to take responsibility for yourself. This means showing up for work on time, carrying out your daily tasks efficiently, as well as demonstrating a positive working attitude. In a school environment, teachers tend to hold your hand in helping you to fulfil your expectations. In the workplace, you are on your own and this kind of independence takes some getting used to for some school leavers. You and only you will be held accountable on all the important aspects of your job.   


First impressions are everything

Appearance is very important when it comes to the workplace. First impressions are everything and you cannot simply roll out of bed and pull on the nearest items of clothing. Dressing like a professional is all part of the job. Some companies provide a uniform while others require smart casual clothing. Many workers keep a section of their wardrobe for workwear, which they do not wear in their leisure time, so they feel smart and professional as soon as they get dressed for the day ahead.

Attitude is another important consideration. You cannot simply take days off when you feel like it, nobody wants to hear constant moaning and groaning, and long summer holidays are a thing of the past. This is the real world of work and your manager ultimately wants to employ someone who is dedicated and enthusiastic, a contributor towards the overall success of the business itself. You might have got away with skiving off school or missing the odd deadline, but this will not do when it comes to working life. At the end of the day, if you are not doing what is expected of you, this could be grounds for dismissal.


Friendship in the workplace

The role of friendship also changes in the workplace environment. You might develop a friendly relationship with colleagues, but it will almost always remain a working relationship. Be cautious about sharing information about your private life as it might not present you in the best possible light. If you want to progress in your career, you must be careful to maintain a professional appearance at all times. Many employers talk about achieving a life/work balance. This means ensuring employees have enough time to enjoy leisure activities outside of work, and the two areas of life and work do not tend to overlap. School can help in preparing you for juggling different commitments both in and outside of the workplace. The ultimate goal is to be able to achieve success in the workplace as well as feeling fulfilled in your life outside of work.


The Difference between School and Work

The principal idea is that everything you have done so far in your life will stand you in good stead for your chosen career. Hopefully, you will have worked out your strengths and weaknesses whilst in an educational setting and decided on a career path that makes the most out of your attributes and experience. The main difference between school and work is that you will be taking home a pay cheque after a busy month in the office. In turn, you are likely to be on your own two feet now and have to budget your money accordingly, whether paying rent, bills, loans, or being able to afford luxury items such as clothes, beauty items and entertainment.

It can be exhilarating to be making money for the first time, but be careful not to go too crazy. Finding the balance between what you want and what you can afford is another key part of the post-school learning curve.