Advice for First Job Nerves

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Having previously been overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of actually getting a job, yesterday that was replaced with anxiety as I prepared to face my first shift. Now many people may have had various little jobs since they were 16, but for me this was the first time I could officially say 'I'm off to work' and I was pretty terrified, evidenced by the fact I arrived almost an hour early and then had to walk round the block twice just to try and calm myself down. Silly, I know.  But for those who might share such irrational worries, here are some things I wish I'd been told/reminded of.

  • People expect you not to know what you're doing - if you've never worked there of course you're not going to know how they like things done. Ultimately, your manager wants the job done right and quickly so they're going to tell you how they want you to do it as it saves them time in the long run. It's also always better to ask a silly question than to make a silly mistake.
  • Everyone was new once - it can be hard to believe when you see how bubbly and confident  some are, but however long ago they didn't know who anyone was either. They're going to instantly recognise you as the awkward new kid simply because they won't have seen you before. However, you can use this in your favour; when they politely ask you if you'd like to sit with them or ask what your name is don't put your head down and mumble something nondescript,  see this as an opportunity to smile and be friendly. If your first impression is a nice one, they'll be more likely to talk to you later. If you just grunt, they might not bother again.
  • Get stuck in - use your first shift to experiment. Throw yourself into any task you're given and if you finish ask if there's anything else you can do. Don't worry about pestering but do make sure you work efficiently and don't rush. If you try out as many different things this time and get all the questions out the way, you will look and feel so much more confident on your next shift. Plus your manager/supervisor will probably have learnt your name and who you are through this which is always a helpful bonus. If you think there's anything important you learnt, make a note of it either then if you can or when you get home; you may think you'll remember it but ensures you won't have to ask the same questions again.

And even if it all goes wrong, at least you're getting paid for it so can comfort yourself later with either a shopping trip or a food based treat! 
Lara xo

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