Hang in There! Tips to Survive an Entry-Level Job

Instructors: Entry-level jobs can be a big letdown, especially for millennials, who are used to getting what they want immediately. Those of us who have survived the boredom, low pay, and long hours of a first job know that it gets better. Share these tips about getting the most out of a first job with your students.

shutterstock_116418316Tip 1: Be patient. As a first-time employee, you cannot expect instant gratification on your first job. If you feel as though your abilities are being ignored, channel your frustration into a learning opportunity and create your own training and development. You’ll be better prepared for the next job!

Tip 2: Find a mentor. Whether a colleague or someone outside the organization, mentors can provide useful support and advice. A mentor inside a firm can serve as a role model as well as put in a good word for you. Someone outside the company can help guide you and explain the industry or basic workplace etiquette.

Tip 3: Network regularly. Start by making connections with coworkers. You’ll find that more senior colleagues chat about their roles and experiences and can be a valuable source for learning about future opportunities. Then attend professional networking events, which are key to your growth within a field. Try to go to at least one event a month.

Tip 4: Learn about your benefits. Vacation days, sick leave, retirement funds, and health insurance can be confusing. Make a point to read the fine print about your benefits and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Discussion questions.

  1. What does paying your dues mean? How might paying your dues play out in a new job?
  1. How might a new staff member’s complaints about being underutilized be seen by those with more seniority?
  1. What kind of support might a mentor provide to someone in an entry-level job? How might a new hire go about finding a mentor?

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