Okay, so you are out of college and you somehow landed yourself in a good job. The elite (a.k.a frontbenchers) gets themselves placed through campus interviews (or through some tough examinations with names so long that their abbreviations have abbreviations). The underdogs (a.k.a backbenchers) control the entire small business and self-employment market. It is the middle bench guys, who as usual, suffer the most. We suffer from the same prestige of the elite as to not to settle for a small job and also the telltale below average qualifications of the underdogs to stop us from pursuing our dreams. However, after a couple of rounds in the boxing ring of life, we accept the harsh truth of reality and start settling for jobs that actually are willing to take us in. It’ll be a while before we actually taste success (or sometimes never do) but our first jobs are always a nightmare.
But the purpose of this blog is not to share our plight, but rather to come up with a how-to manual on surviving your first new job.
I didn’t get paid in my first job. I was working for free. This made me have a very carefree attitude towards the job. However, I soon got a job that actually paid me and I had to learn a few things to survive in this job. Before I proceed further, let me clarify that I am a Bio-medical engineer and I was working in a hospital. The things I learned were part from my own bad experiences and part from others. So here is the list of how to survive your first job.
1. Never mention the salary you wish to have when asked during an interview
The more ambitious I was about my salary at the interviews, the bigger the ridicule I was subjected to. Your interviewer will slightly scoff at you and will just move on to the next question, totally ignoring what you just said. But say a salary well below what they are ready to pay you and you might just get paid that. Its a gamble and to play safe is to not play at all.
2. Never laugh at your boss
It is a general rule for all employees to laugh at their boss’s jokes, especially the bad ones. But never, ever laugh at your boss. My boss, the Dean of the hospital was teaching a group of students on how to do a rectal exam (for those of you who don’t know what a rectal exam is, look it up in Google) and after a full explanation and an actual demonstration on a patient, the Dean took his hand out and found that the glove he was wearing had a hole in it. His face turned pale and the students were sniggering, when all of a sudden came a booming laughter. It was me. I was watching the whole thing while waiting to get a few signatures from the Dean and could not control my laughter at what happened. Of course I never got a raise after this.
3. Never piss off the guy who brings your daily coffee
Fortunately, I wasn’t a coffee drinker. The attender in the office I worked took quite a liking to me. After all, I was the only one in that office who got paid lesser than him. This one day my superior officer was having a bad day and decided to vent it out on the attender. Bad decision. For the rest of my days there, I saw him drinking his coffee only after the attender had a sip of it from his cup in secret before serving it to him.
4. You know more than you boss? Then shut up
There are so many incidents for this that I couldn’t even decide on what to share. Don’t question, just accept this rule.
5. Do not make your first job your last job
There are a couple of ways you can make this mistake. You settled for less that one time, got comfortable and accepted the harsh truth and now you are stuck in this job. You got a bit over ambitious and decided to throw away this job to actually pursue your true passion, which turns out to be a poor career choice. The extreme case is you do something stupid and get yourself imprisoned. I have seen instances of all three cases in my time at the job.
There are a lot more to share and even lot more to learn. But, I rather leave it to you, the reader, to make your own poor choices and mistakes in your very own first job. Your first job is your first contact with real life and it is okay to make a few mistakes. Just make sure you learn from it and don’t pay dearly for those mistakes.
I also have to put up this disclaimer that I only worked for a few months at my job and managed to gain only a little bit of experience. So I may be totally wrong. But heck, it was a good opportunity to share some wisdom. Until next time 🙂