A new job can be confusing, daunting and just a whirl of information one has probably never heard before. At least mine was. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have had part-time jobs while at university. I have been a hotel receptionist, telephone operator, cleaning lady, etc. But those were by-the-way jobs, something I didn’t actually care about as long as I got my pay check. Now that I think about it, I have not gained a lot of knowledge nor experiences from them.
I started working as a legal secretary just last year and boy, was it a shock. My “real” job felt to me as something special and I prepared for it: watched YouTube for wardrobe inspiration, hair and makeup tutorials, reading blogs etc. And I was cute and proper and ready! Or, so I looked. Nobody prepared me for the fast pace and multitudes of micro jobs and information to remember and oh, my, was I dizzy by the end of my first day. I had a great mentor who said “eventually you’ll get a handle on it” and I thought she was insane.
- Tip no.1:
Bring a notebook. I know print is dead, blablabla. In my perfect bag there was a notebook I got for good luck. Luckily I had it with me because it was a tremendous help to me for the first couple of weeks. I wrote in EVERYTHING and crossed it when the job was complete or I no longer needed the information. Important information (where to find a certain file etc.) I circled in red or green pen as to separate them from the jumble of pen ink.
- Tip no.2:
Claim your space. Feeling like you don’t quite fit in your new job environment is completely valid. You are new. For me that meant bringing my own mug. I don’t drink coffee (love the smell, though), but I absolutely have to have my morning cuppa, usually English Breakfast. For work I had to buy tea in bags, which was a compromise. Nevertheless I felt better using my mug that I bought and fitting in did not seem like such an important thing. Because there was Me with My Mug.
- Tip no.3:
I know it sounds cotraintuitive but: Slow down! First two months I was running around the office like a headless chicken. I could not understand how my mentor could take a coffee break and a lunch break and having a “slow morning” and still got everything done. And then I fell sick with a virus infection and exertion. I had 3 days off in total and I was back on my feet. Feeling like a complete new person I did not care anymore if I had to work an hour longer to get things done as long as I forced myself to take an active break. There still comes a day when I have to work and extra hour or two but for the most part I finish on time or even early.
- BONUS TIP:
Every work station has a system of operating (kind of like a machine) you just have to figure it out. I know it sounds simple but it cost me 3 sick days and a lot of burnt nerves to realize it.
Hope these tips help you a little and good luck. 😉