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5 Things I’ve Learned From My First Job

Getting your first job is an accomplishment itself. Whether it be to gain more independence, your own income or a new experience, your first job will often leave memories for you to follow. For me, I didn’t get my first job until after my first year of college. Though I considered myself a late bloomer, I was proud of myself that I eventually became employed. When I was still in high school, I remember telling myself that I would apply to different jobs, but I never committed to doing so. So naturally, my first job was quite an achievement for me, since I finally did go through with my plan of becoming employed. With my job, I’ve experienced new things and have learned to work with various people. For this reason, I want to share five things that I’ve learned from my first job:

Time management is key.

Juggling school and extracurricular activities is already hard. Adding work into the equation is even more difficult. The one main lesson that really resonated with me when I obtained my first job is that I have to be on top of my schedule. Although I used my calendar on my laptop before, I didn’t use it as extensively. Now, I have to plan and organize my schedule before the start of each week so that I know the meetings, lectures and work shifts I must attend without conflict between each other. As a college student, studies are my priority, but often this comes with a sacrifice for sleep on some days. However, as I started working more, I realized that I couldn’t go off only a few hours of sleep. Thus, time management is so essential for me to get my school assignments done, attend extracurricular events and also work as an employee.

You learn as you go.

Although I did receive training for my job, it wasn’t an exact replication of what my experience would be like at work. I didn’t really learn until I had my first real shift. Even before I started my first shift, I was already stressing about what I’d have to do, how to conduct myself, and how I would learn to do things correctly. However, after my first shift, I realized it wasn’t as stressful as I made it out to be. With more shifts, I learned that I don’t have to know everything from the start. Each shift might bring a new experience that I’m unprepared for, but that’s the process in learning as you go. I can use previous knowledge from past shifts to work with a client, or I can use my own intuition to make sure the shift goes as smoothly as possible. So, as an employee, I can say that I didn’t have to memorize all of the possibilities of the experiences I would have at work. Instead, I learned more as I took on more shifts and was able to apply previous knowledge to current experiences.

Act fast and think fast!

I’ve often found myself in situations where I’ve had to rely on quick thinking and quick intuition. Although it was stressful to get used to at first, I realized that I’d be working with different people, and so my experiences would never be the exact same. This then brought a new skill of preparation for me that I hadn’t delved into before: quick thinking. As part of my job, I have to make sure my client is safe at all times. As such, if there were situations in which I thought my client could be harmed, I had to rely on my quick intuition to move the client away from such danger and keep them safe. Being able to act fast and think fast is a skill that I’ve had the opportunity to develop more with my first job.

Communication is everything.

I know that many people say that communication is important, and it might get tiring to hear the same advice. However, communication is indeed everything! If I ever encountered a situation that I needed help with, I was able to communicate with my office of employment and obtain a quick response. If I ever needed more information on my client, I communicated with the parents of the client. Communication is necessary when my job requires interaction. Even if other jobs aren’t as interactive, communication to your employer, coworkers, etc. is so important for a working environment to function effectively.

Have fun with what you’re doing!

Again, I know that this may sound like the regurgitated advice that everyone gives, but have fun with what you’re doing in your job! At the start of my first job, I thought that I would have to worry at every shift about working with clients and making sure everything was right. Yet, I did manage to have fun with my work and to enjoy the interaction as much as possible. If you don’t like your job, I’m not saying to just quit altogether. Instead, you could make the best of situations by interacting more with your coworkers, by not thinking of the hours left until you clock out, or by any other means to make sure you can have at least a bit of fun. Work is indeed serious, but enjoying what you do is also important for you to work consistently.

My first job has given me new experiences that I will always treasure. The skills that I’ve developed while on the job have allowed me to grow as a person. Besides obtaining an income from working, I’ve gained valuable skills that I will bring with me to future jobs and offers. Obtaining a job is an achievement that everyone should appreciate. For me, my job was the start of real independence when I was able to earn my own money and keep track of my spendings and earnings. Work has brought me one step closer into adulthood, and I can say that I absolutely enjoy what I do.

Jamie Vu

UCLA '23

Jamie is a second year student at UCLA. She loves to listen to music and enjoys going to concerts and listening to artists live. During her free time, she likes to go out and explore.
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