Read. And Read Some More.
Learning doesn’t end at university. In fact, if you were a part of the local education system like myself, you would know that true learning starts AFTER university. I consider myself fortunate that my mom instilled the habit of reading in me since young, and I find a lot of the things I read surface in conversations among the older people at work – managers, bosses, custodians, and even sales executives. We often overuse the excuse of “generation gap” and we can’t entirely blame the adults for thinking we’re from the age of stupid. Trust me, if you can cut half the time spent on social networking and use it for reading, you may just save our generation from the stigma that we’re just a bunch of ignorant young people.
Remember, some knowledge develop over time, and most of them are, timeless.
Swallow that Pride, Even if You Choke
Like it or not, your bosses hold the trump cards. Why? Because they can. Because many years ago, their bosses did too. Whether you’re a grammar nazi, a walking encyclopedia, or a math whizz – it’s okay to be wrong sometimes, even though you feel like you’re 0.1% right. Nobody likes to be wrong. Especially your bosses.
You Have the License to Be Ignorant
This only applies to your first year of service. In more competitive environments, your first three months. You’ll feel awkward during large meetings because you don’t know what those hundreds of acronyms mean and writing minutes is a pain in the a**. Don’t take that as a sign of weakness – it’s actually an advantage. This is the best time to say, “I’m new, I don’t know, can you teach me?”
I sat for my mock assessment last month, of which I failed miserably, as expected. But it was probably the most fun assessment I’ve ever had because I ended up asking my assessors even more questions in return. It was a chance to shine light in the areas that I lack, and network with the right people that can help me out in the future.
When you are being taught, pay 110% of attention. Ask more. Even if it annoys your senior colleague. Once upon a time, they annoyed their senior colleague too. It’s karma.
Drop that Attitude. Be Sociable.
You may come from a world-renowned university, you may have been a valedictorian of your graduating class, you could be the only Chinese/Malay/Indian/Whatever among the rest, you (or your father) may be a tycoon – in short, you may be different from the rest. But here’s what you have in common: You work in the same company, you are trying to attain the same goals for the company, and you need to pick each other’s brains constantly to get something to work.
So grow up, stop isolating yourself, get out from your cubicle, and have lunch with your colleagues. Remember names, birthdays and backgrounds. Do things out of work – catch a movie, go on outings. Find the things you have in common. Want to change your country? This is where you start.
NEVER Use Next Month’s Pay.
It’s overwhelming at first when you start earning your own money. That burst of income every month tempts us to get that new phone, gadget, clothes, furniture. It’s alright to give yourself a treat after all that hard work you put in, but never, ever, use money that you don’t have. Set a budget. Do not overspend. Try not to use (or have) a credit card. And even if you do, pay up your card ON TIME. Which means the money you are going to use to pay up for your card should also be part of your monthly budget.
That being said, while I haven’t exceeded my budget so far, I’ve started a small book-keeping system for myself. Microsoft Excel is a very powerful tool to help you manage your expenses. When you have an overview of your cash-flow, it also allows you to foresee incoming special occasions that you may have to foot out a little more money than usual. Also, it also helps you to recognize the current expenses that you can control in case you need to save some money for future expenses.
This is a continuation from the previous list. The list that I’ve written aren’t set in stone – it depends on your working environment. As for me, I work in a large GLC with many layers of management that comes with its own set of internal politics. My first year has been all about adapting and learning how to work beyond the system. If you have any extra suggestions that you would like to add, please feel free to give your two cents! =)