As a working twenty-something, I have learned a few things about the working world. I am by no means an expert, but a little bit goes a long way in the professional world. Most people spend 8 hours a day with the same colleagues (save for vacation and sick days), so your relationships with them will play a role in your career.
Be polite, and show an interest in your colleagues.
When you are in the lunch room or kitchen, or walking down the hallway, say hello and ask about their evening. If you know that they are fans of the local hockey team, ask them if they saw the last game. I have found that people are generally nicer when you show an interest in them, and this will improve your working relationship with them. Do you have to invite them to dinner and keep notes on their family? Not at all; just show that you are empathetic and care about their general well-being.
Take notes, and make sure to read them over. If you learn a new system, a report, meet a new department, or work on a new type of project, write down what you have learned. The steps you take, the information you need, the people who can help. Not only will it help you while you are still learning, it could potentially help when you are training someone new.
Ask questions, and listen to the answers.
I find that a lot of people are scared to ask questions when they start a new job- they don’t want to bother people, they don’t want to admit that they don’t know something, or they don’t think they know the right question to ask. Keep reminding yourself that no one knows everything at the beginning, and that everyone had to ask questions. The equally important part? Listen to the answer you get. Make sure you understand it, and ask any follow up questions then and there (if possible).
Take the extra step.
Go the extra mile sometimes. If someone is away sick, offer to help with a report or project. If a colleague seems overwhelmed, offer to help. If you notice that something is lacking or missing, try to fill in the missing information. Ask before you do something to make sure that you aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes, but more often than not, people appreciate the help, and they notice. My only caveat is that it doesn’t overwhelm you. I have a habit of taking on too much- working an extra hour a day unpaid, regularly taking on others’ duties, and generally overworking myself. Find that balance.
People become complacent and self-absorbed in their jobs. Life is stressful- work is no excpetion- and they are there because they need an income. However, consciously applying yourself will improve your job and your ability to move forward. Every little thing makes a difference!
What are your career tips? What stands out to you?