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20 Lessons You Learn On Your First Job

A letter to my 21-year-old self.
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Dear wide-eyed, newly employed self,

Here are the 20 things you need to know about that first job:

1. It will be LOADS tougher than college. On that first day in your first job, you take what you know and just run with it. You could hit the ground running because not everyone gets to be mentored.

2. Not everything you need to know was taught in school. Diskarte is the most important thing you’ll have with you. Make sure you impress your boss by having a solution before bringing up a problem. IT. WORKS. ALL. THE. TIME.

3. Not everything is served to you on a silver platter. You are not here to harp on your past achievements but to learn new things from those who have done this gig for years.

4. Hard work beats talent every single time. Yes, girl. You were your school paper’s editor-in-chief, danced in your college’s biggest production, and graduated top of the class, but that doesn’t matter anymore when you're in the real world.

5. Take your job seriously. It is just your first job, but don't use that as an excuse to slack off.

6. But don't be TOO serious. Relax, and don't be OA! Have fun every once in a while, make mistakes and learn from them, and when you're in the brink of panicking, BREATHE.

7. Workmates can also be your barkada. Need to run documents to the other floor, but you’re out running errands for the team? It always helps to have office BFFs who always have your back. It's great to have solid lunch buddies, too!

8. Be sure not to get too comfy, though. Your officemates are not your college buddies. They don’t need to know every single detail about you and your walwal weekends.

9. Dress for the job, and keep a respectable image. Anything you'd wear to the beach or da club is off-limits in the office. Make sure you dress appropriately...

10. ...But don't be boring. Don't be afraid to show people your style! There are so many ways to look professional AND stay stylish.

11. Aside from your outfits, make sure you have a proper grooming routine! Don't skip freshening up your breath before meetings, and make sure your makeup doesn't look chaka!

12. MAGTIPID KA, GIRL. Okay, you can shop for work staples, beauty essentials, and office supplies. You can also eat out with workmates every once in a while. But don't blow your paycheck every time! Scrimp on the coffee or bring baon to save extra bucks. Always put some money aside for rainy days.

13. Make time for friends and family. Give your mom a call when you need advice. Hang out with your high school barkada, and share first job stories. Whatever it is you're going through, realize that you're never alone.

14. Make the most of your days off. Make sure you rest and unwind, so you'll feel refreshed and be more productive during work days.

15. No task is too small. Boss asks you to do a coffee run, call clients, tediously sort information, or stay behind as taong-bahay in the office? There should be no task that's too menial for you. Think of it as a rite of passage.

16. It’ll all pay off eventually. Before you know it, you'll be asked to contribute more important things.

17. Your boss is not out to get you. Sure, you hear horror stories of power-tripping bosses, but don’t let that get to you. Your boss might actually be pushing you harder than the rest because he sees incredible potential in you. So quit complaining!

18. Walang personalan, girl. You may always argue with the bibo kid of the team, and your client might not appreciate every pitch you’ve made. Sweat it off, and don’t take it personally. 'Pag trabaho, trabaho lang.

19. Stay 10 steps ahead. Your boss will love you for it. Nothing beats being the new kid on the block and always exceeding your bosses’ expectations. Learn the ropes, foresee their needs, and always bring your A game to work.

20. Always be reachable. Be everybody’s go-to person by always being connected. Invest on a good postpaid plan and reliable gadgets, so you can be efficient. Get a head start on your emails by reading them on your phone while waiting for the MRT. Be ready to extend a helping hand to your colleagues, and NEVER ignore the boss' call. You never know—it could be an emergency, an invite to super fun event, or even a chance for a promotion.

Signed,

Your 30-year old middle-management self

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