Here are some reflections that I drafted up while sitting in the waiting room for my allergy shot this morning…enjoy this bonus post!Wow – this was taken in 2015 in the first few months of this job. My hair is much longer and that outfit *barely* fits now. If you had told me around the time this was taken that I would still be here 2 years later I would laugh…
…because I didn’t think I was cut out for this field and that I was going to be fired.
It was a series of factors – mostly the timing of growth in the office at a time that I was still learning how to use a very complex set of systems, be a legitimate assistant for the first time, and learning all of the different products and services this firm offers. I was also dealing with a toxic home environment that did not help AT ALL. My fear of being fired became so severe that it is now just a running joke…but at the time I was concerned that my mistakes would cost us clients and that constant battle to my self esteem was dark.
But I am still here. I now [mostly] know what I’m doing. AND I’m happy!
I get really sad when I see people jumping from job to job because they aren’t happy immediately. How do you know that if you aren’t even giving yourself time to get in the groove? We’re not super geniuses that pick up a new company’s procedures and cultures overnight.
How to Survive the First 6 Months at Any Job
1. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED IMMEDIATELY
I know this is difficult. I know you’re new and things are new and different and you would rather go play in traffic than fuck up and have to be told that you fucked up. It’s OK. Instead of getting anxious and upset you should own up and try not to make that mistake again.
2. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
It’s a hell of a lot easier to keep your shit together when you have notes. Take the time you need to write clear notes that you can reference when you’re confused about something. A good employer will not be annoyed by the time it takes you to write things down for later.
3. ASK EVERY QUESTION YOU HAVE AND ASSUME NOTHING
Even if you’re WRITING EVERYTHING DOWN you may still be confused and that’s totally okay. Whenever I get an intern, the first thing I tell them is to never hesitate to ask a questions because a good employer would rather you ask a question 3 times and do something right rather than make an educated guess and fuck things up. Hell, I still take applications to my supervisor to review before I submit if I’m in anyway concerned.
4. PUT YOUR FUCKING CELL PHONE AWAY
You don’t need the distraction. You don’t need to ever be caught scrolling on Facebook. You’re not yet acclimated enough to be able to juggle social and work life at the same time. AND you don’t want to look bored or like you don’t have enough work to do.
5. UNDERSTAND THAT TRUE GROOVE TAKES T-I-M-E
I have just recently (I’d say since about November 2016) gotten into my work groove. I found my sweet spot for organization and task tracking. This groove consists of a written daily to-do list, Outlook Tasks, tasks in our Client Relationship Management system, and a spiralbound notebook that I write everything in when I’m on the phone or have an adviser in front of me explaining a bigger task. It may seem like a lot when typed out but this is how I’ve been able to effectively track and manage my tasks.
I wish I had followed this advice when I started but am also thankful that I have an awesome employer and we’ve managed to work it all out.