Office Life: 10 Things No One Tells You About Your First Job


Photo Steven Alan

So you’ve just landed your first job, congrats! You might think it’s onwards and upwards from here, but there are some things you don’t learn in school that might prepare you for your first day! No amount of education can prepare you for your first job.

You may know Pythagoras’s theory like the back of your hand but no textbook can ever prepare you for your first day in a new job. Walking into the office for the first time makes you evaluate everything you thought you knew.

Not everyone will want to be best friends.
Co-workers can turn out to become some of your closest friends, after all, you see them more than you do your own family and are there for them in the middle of a burnout! However not everyone will want to make small talk by the photocopier, and sometimes that’s okay.

The Job Description probably wasn’t entirely accurate.
Sometimes you have to be open to taking on extra tasks, job roles, and responsibilities but it is rarely a bad thing, it allows you to prove yourself and move forward.

Getting paid really does make you feel like a grownup.
You may have been eyeing up a certain special bag as your first paycheck treat, but as soon as that money goes into your account you won’t actually want to part with it. If you need some saving tips, check out our article on managing your money in your twenties.

It’s okay to say no.
No one can fire you just because you couldn’t do it all, it great to take on as much as you can to show you are hardworking and passionate but never feel pressured to take on more than you can handle.

You learn as you go.
Very rarely will you get help with everything you face, it’s important to take control and use your initiative wherever you can, this will serve you very well for your future career.

Your lunch “hour” is very rarely actually an hour.
It’s more likely 30 minutes as you run to the nearest Starbucks and grab whatever is left! It might be wise to plan ahead and check out our article on healthy snack swaps.

Attitude is everything.
You may be good at your job but the only way to stand out and progress is to be polite and pleasant to be around, your attitude really does matter.

This won’t be your last job.
It might not be all you had hoped and dreamed of, but your first job is at least a starting point and it’s all good experience.

Working isn’t all fun and games.
Tax is very real and unfortunately, you will have to pay far more than you would like. Luckily we’ve got you on the money front, read our article on saving with the 50-20-30 rule.


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  • Amy Sewell

    Solid list, especially the importance of having a positive attitude and learning to manage your money when you’re on your own for the first time! Avoiding debt and getting into the savings habit are key – here are a few other tips I shared for new grads in a recent post:

  • Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    Great article!

    In England it’s very rare to get a lunch hour. You get 30 mins. And you need every minute of it to get to lunch, eat it, and get back!

    Also, the attitude thing is true. Especially for a first job when you have no experience or real skills (like me not so long ago) to back you up. Sometimes all you can do is show up on time and make everyone else feel good by being genuinely cheerful and appreciative.

    It’s amazing how many people actually don’t come to their trial periods at new jobs, or even come to the interview! Bizarrely, just being there makes you stand out. As Woody Allen said, “80% of success is just showing up.”

    By being genuinely upbeat and appreciative of the people you work with, you are actually making a positive contribution to the work place because a happy environment works much better. People do their jobs better if they like their colleagues and feel looked up to and valued. A great book for people getting their first or second jobs is “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

    And yes, take a pack-up and a bottle of water. And snacks. You’ll need them. :)

  • Camille Beygui

    Awesome post

  • dreamofadventures

    you learn as you go is so true. everyday I learn something new at work and continue to grow =o)

    great post!

  • Ella

    All of the points are true in this post and they cover my experiences.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelliann

    Great post!

  • Meow HK

    wish i had come across this article two years ago!

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