Today is my third anniversary at my job, which means I've been in the corporate world for three whole years! I can't believe it. Time flies. I was a super senior in college, so I feel very lucky that today's not my fourth anniversary!
I've learned a LOT over the past three years - about professionalism, friendships, mentor-ship, etc, but I thought it would be fun to list the 11 things I wish someone had told me three years ago on my first day. What do you wish someone told you about working in the corporate world? Let me know in the comments below!
1. Learn how to make coffee on your first day, and make it when the pot is empty.
Oh yeah... and ALWAYS make it with two bags of coffee.
2. Do little things to help out your team
I grab the mail for my team every day to make their lives a little easier. It shows that I'm willing to go beyond my job description and gives me a little bit of face time with my boss when I drop the mail off. Offer to print the agendas, run the stupid errand and create the damn excel spreadsheet.
3. Never say no
Starting out in the business world was really intimidating for me. I would try to avoid social gatherings, company events, and speaking and presenting at department meetings because I was scared. My boss pushed me to go and pushed me out of my comfort zone, and at every event, I gained new opportunities, had more exposure to senior management, met new friends and felt a deeper connection with my company. Next time you're asked to do a presentation you're afraid to do, just say yes.
4. Don't over drink at company events
Or even the happy hour with your coworkers.....
5. "Off the record" conversations are truly never "off the record"
The PR term "off the record" is applicable for all parts of business. NEVER trust that an off the record conversation is off the record at work. This is a business, after all, and some people are only in it for self-gain.
6. Introduce yourself to the ceo and say hi every time you see her/him
7. Lighten up
Relax when you're speaking in meetings, create personal relationships with leaders at the company, and be true to yourself. People are quick to see through a phony personality. Be yourself and have some fun at your job.
8. Ask about social norms at work
In your first week, as what the social norms of the team is. What time is it OK to come in at? What time do most people leave? Does business casual dress REALLY mean business casual?
9. Buy the expensive work clothes
I work harder and better when I feel confident in my outfit. People will notice the effort you put into your appearance, which translates to you caring about your job.
10. wear high heels
This one's up for debate, but for me, it's a huge one. Buy a nice pair of tall pointy-toed heels and wear them everyday. Tall people are seen as more leader-like and authoritative (yes there are REAL STUDIES done about this), and it puts you on the same level as many of the men you work with. I did a poll of my coworkers to guess my height and most people thought I was 5 feet 10 inches (!!), when in fact I'm 5 feet 6 inches. In a male dominated industry, it's really important for me to use my "height" to my advantage.
11. And finally...You were hired because you were deemed as valuable
It's easy to doubt your place in a company as a young professional. People will treat you like an assistant. People will over look you. People will go over your head to your manager because they don't trust you. Always remember that you were hired because you were seen as an asset to the company. Don't forget that.