Everyone has to go through a “first day.” These first days I’m talking about are a lot different than they were in school.
As a recent graduate and now an intern at Bravo Group, I will be embarking on a new adventure in a few months. Although I don’t know where that will be, I know one thing.
I’m entering the real world.
Starting your first job in the real world can be scary. There are a bunch of unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar surroundings and occasionally unfamiliar tasks. You often can’t prepare yourself for what’s ahead.
So before I take my first steps in the real world, I decided to get some feedback from the employees of Bravo Group. I asked them to respond to “What I wish I knew starting my first job in the real world.”
Here are their responses:
“I wish I knew how much rent, food and beer cost before I became a newspaper reporter, moved to a strange city and started my career. Of course, if I knew those things, I probably never would have become a journalist. I would have remained a truck driver in my family’s construction company.”
— Sean Connolly, senior director
“On Day One of my first job (which was at Bravo Group!), I wish I had known the value of being a good problem-solver. A year and a half after graduation, I was given the advice “Be the solution,” and it changed my whole approach to my career. The best thing you can do for a supervisor, peer, colleague, friend, etc., is to make their lives easier by helping solve their problems. If you can position yourself as part of the solution to their problems, there is no better way to increase your value to that person.
“I try to apply this advice to everything I do. For example, if I’m working on an assignment and I run into an issue, I come up with three potential solutions to that issue before bringing it to the person who gave me the assignment. It’s so much easier to run into a problem and bring it right to the person who gave you the assignment, but if you think about it, you’re then basically asking them to solve it for you. Even if the potential solutions you come up with are totally off the mark, at least the person who gave you the assignment sees that you made the effort to solve the problem on your own before raising it with them. Then they’re more willing to work on a solution with you.”
— Noelle Lorine, director, product development and growth
“I thought I knew how to make ‘adult’ decisions, but after I landed my first ‘real-world’ job I realized I had so much to learn. When I first started at Bravo, I wish I had known how to understand my health benefits and 401(k) plans, how to set a budget — and stick to it — and how to maintain a good work-life balance so I could accommodate for busy work periods without sacrificing some much-needed downtime on the weekends.”
— Alizah Thornton, writer
“Best advice given to me early on (and I didn’t really understand it at the time but have a new respect for it now that I’m 12 years into my professional career) was to dedicate time to mentoring younger colleagues and networking with those folks who are looking for a job in our field. This rang especially true for me when I moved from D.C. to Pennsylvania in 2014. Unsure of my next job when moving to PA, I began to let friends and former colleagues know that I was moving to PA and any help or contacts they could assist with would be a huge help. I was very surprised when people I didn’t even know were contacting me, offering to help. They all told me one thing — “just pay it forward,” which is what I try to do now.”
— Ted Piper, director
“That ‘perfection’ is overrated, whether that’s in the job itself (not immediately getting your dream job) or in the execution of it. That’s not to say that someone starting out — or changing careers — should not work hard and be disciplined and accountable, but that perfection itself isn’t attainable.
“Rather than perfection, work toward lifelong learning, both individual learning and learning about the world at large and your place in it. The goal should be to advance toward fulfillment through learning, practice, authentic self-expression and the realness of knowing who you are (becoming), and being okay with that and what you can offer.”
— Chris Conard, director of content strategy
“Ask questions. Don’t pretend to know it all. Learn other skills. Once you’ve learned your job skill set, tackle learning another skill or learn about it.
“Max out your 401(k). Share your skills with nonprofit groups. This is a great way to network.Find a mentor and understand how they got to where they are and ask them for guidance and advice.
“Be friends with everyone. Socialize with your co-workers, but remember they are your co-workers. Be aware of how you conduct yourself at work events. Love what you do but always look for ways to grow and learn.”
— Liann Migash, project manager
Knowing that I will be leaving Bravo Group in a few short months to enter the real world and start my first job, I now feel more confident and prepared with the advice given by Bravo employees.
Noelle Del Grippo, Wayne Office