Adjusting...Culture, Age and Environment

You’ve landed your first job.  You’re in.  The weight has been lifted off of your shoulders and now it is time to GRIND!  Wait, you now feel these nerves – they are the same nerves you had when entering your first day of school at a place where you knew little to no one.  Work is no different.  You are nervous about fitting in, having people take you seriously, and lastly, you just want people to like you.  So, how do you find where you fit with all of these people who have been working for much longer than you?  It’s simple – adapt. Let me say it again ADAPT.  Just like you have been doing your whole life.

Just Like School

Remember your first day of high school?  Remember your first day of college?  I bet you do.  The nerves were real.  You were walking into the unknown.  Not only did you have a feeling of nervousness, but you were excited.  Excited to embark on a new and exciting journey.  Excited to make new friends and uncover this new chapter in life.  Well, starting your first job is no different.  Always remember that everyone in your office is excited for you to start!  You are filling a void that they were missing and they need your help.  Sure, they might not seem nervous to meet you, but they sure are excited for you to get going.

First 90 days

Now you’ve realized.  “Okay – I can do this.  But everyone here is so much older than me….there’s no way they will respect me or take me seriously.”  Remember that perception is reality.  Over the first 90 days, everyone around you will be evaluating how you work.  Not like everyone will have a microscope and be focused on you, but they will take mental notes on how you work.  So, your first 90 days are where your impression and personal brand start building.  Your colleagues will notice your personality based off these 90 days and how well you work with them is the first thing they’ll take note of.  My tips for your first 90 days:

  • Be the 1st in the office and last one out

This is an old-school piece of advice, but it stays true throughout all generations.  Your colleagues will notice that you are “beating” them into the office and staying later than them.  Whether you have something to work on or not, find work to do.  People will start to associate you with punctuality, diligence, and effort.

  • Be genuine

Just be yourself.  If you are outgoing, then let your personality shine and vise versa.  Don’t try to be someone that you aren’t.  This is your career and at some point you will no longer be able to hide behind something you aren’t.  So the best thing to do is to be yourself and let the true you come out.  That’s why they hired you!!

  • Act in a mature manner

Again, perception is reality.  When you are outside of the office, you can act how you please.  Go out, go party, do everything that 20 somethings are supposed to do.  BUT in the office, you must act in a mature manner.  Take your work seriously and let it be known that you take your work seriously through your actions.  Actions speak much louder than words, but your words can help you be taken seriously.  Speak confidently in your work.  You were the one who did all (or most) of the work and you did your best, so be proud and speak proudly of it.  If you have a question – don’t be afraid to ask!  There truly is no such thing as a dumb question. Asking questions also shows that you are engaged in your work and are seeking to better yourself or your understanding of different work-related topics.

  • Remember that we are millennials

You’ll hear ‘millennials’ more in your office than you have ever before.  Many companies are hyper focused on making the workplace best for ‘millennials.’  Well, it is important that we are those millennials they are speaking about.  One thing most companies are not doing is asking their millennials what they want and how they can make the work experience best for them.  Speak your mind.  Tell the company how you believe them changing company norms will impact your work and how it’ll inevitably make your work better which will better the company.  We are the future of the world and continue to make up more of the working world daily.

Stay Consistent

Now your first 90 days are up.  You have set the tone for yourself and have a good feeling of how this first year and subsequent years are going to go.  To keep this momentum, you must stay consistent.  You want everyone to know the person they are going to get each day – for me: everyone knows they are getting a smile and “good morning” from me whether it is a bad day or good day for me.  Consistency is how you’ll build trust with your colleagues and they will also respect you because you are not letting outside forces affect your mood for the day/week.  Regardless of what is going on, you control your attitude and how you attack the day, so start it off on the right foot and continue to keep that mindset.


Have extra tips that you believe are helpful to anyone starting their career?  Leave them in the comments below!


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