4 First Job Pitfalls and How to Overcome Them - Featured Image

Starting your first job is intimidating. The idea of moving to the next phase of your life somehow overwhelms you with uncertainties, making you wonder if, and how, you’ll survive.

But this isn’t the first time you faced such uncertainty. When you were heading off to college, didn’t you worry about making friends? AND making your grades?

The same thing happens as you begin your career. You ask yourself: Will I be able to get along well with my peers and superiors? Can I impress my boss with my performance? Will I be effective in contributing to the company’s growth and success?

Having these questions in mind isn’t bad at all. In fact, these will motivate you to strive harder and conquer the challenge.

However, asking yourself these questions won’t help you defeat your doubts and worries unless you’re willing to face the obstacles this working life brings.

To help you expect the best and prepare for the worst, here are four common pitfalls new-hires should watch out for and how to overcome them.


Not Adjusting to Office Culture

Not Adjusting to Office Culture

Adapting to company principles involves following rules and regulations.

But you also need to go beyond the written rules to adjust to how the company functions on a regular basis.

Sometimes, the culture doesn’t automatically “click.” But entertaining negative thoughts like “This job is not for me” or “I don’t fit in with the company culture” won’t help solve the issue. Worse, it’ll force you to quit without recognizing the real source of the problem.

Before it consumes you, start showing your interest in learning their values and beliefs to learn their culture.

How to Overcome:

Employees encountering the so-called “cultural mismatch” need to identify whether their concerns stem from their work habits or differences in moral values.

If their routine causes the problem, newbies should alter at least one habit and realign their strategy with the company’s. In doing so, you’ll see if the results are improving once you’ve matched up your work habits with the employer’s.

Don’t overthink it or let your mind be crowded by clouds of discouragement. As a new employee, it takes time and lots of observation to adjust to what your company usually does and to how they do it. Notice how others do their projects and go about their day to learn and adapt to the culture. If you need to, don’t be afraid to ask a coworker what the norm is.


Overlooking Relationship-Building

Overlooking Relationship-Building

It’s not enough that you learn the current structure of the company. You need to understand how building rapport and establishing relationships with your coworkers is also important to endure any challenges in the workplace.

But what if dealing with unfamiliar faces is not something that comes naturally for you? Will you wait for someone to approach you or will you be the one to break the ice? You may feel awkward at first, but eventually you’ll see how it would be beneficial for both parties.

How to Overcome:

Whether you like it or not, you need to interact with your coworkers, both for your personal wellbeing and your success at the company.

You have to be wise about who you’ll be associating with if you want to form beneficial relationships, though. You don’t want to be with those who often talk negatively about others, do you?

Observing how coworkers communicate with and treat others tells more about who they are, so be sure to find those who are positive, can support your growth in the company and motivate you to perform your best. Summon the courage to strike up a conversation and get to know them. It’ll pay off, we promise.


Having Difficulties Handling the Workload

Having Difficulties Handling the Workload

Even though you’re used to accepting loads of work during college, there’ll come a time when you’ll reach the point of “enough” at the office. Especially when you’re not aware of how to do a particular task and where to begin.

Don’t get discouraged. You may feel overwhelmed and pressured by responsibilities, but you don’t have to. This is why you have your colleagues! They’re always there if you need help finishing up urgent tasks and meeting your daily goals (so long as it doesn’t happen often).

How to Overcome:

Instead of panicking, consider asking questions to give you an idea of how to apply everything you’ve learned during college. If your boss requests something you’re not familiar with, don’t be afraid to seek guidance. It would be better to let him know how unsure you are in accomplishing a certain task and have it done well, than doing it on your own will and end up committing mistakes.

Also, arranging your schedule and organizing your tasks will allow you to pinpoint which assignment should be prioritized. No matter how menial your task may be, plan carefully by writing them down to help you maximize your time and distinguish what needs much attention.


Failing to Manage Your Behavior

Failing to Manage Your Behavior

Conflicts and issues are present not only in the workplace, but also in other areas of life. It’s up to you to respond in a way that doesn’t ruin your relationship with others or your career.

What if there’s a problem that pops up and you’re accountable for fixing it? How are you going to deal with someone who’s wronged you? Will you react positively or negatively?

You might have gotten good grades and received awards when you were studying, but without having a good attitude, you’re doomed to fail.

How to Overcome:

Attitude is everything. Take a step back to objectively observe your behavior from time to time. Whether it’s about the people you’re working with, or the task you’ve been assigned, keep everything in place by evaluating yourself to avoid sacrificing your image and credibility.

When something pops up and tempts you to lose your patience, think about speaker and author Brian Tracy’s gentle reminder about handling your behavior: “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

Maintaining your professionalism is one way to stop any crises from occurring. But when a problem does occur, responding positively is of the utmost importance.

Keep calm and focused so you’ll be able to think clearly and provide a solution that combats any unwanted or stressful situations.


Getting to the Top

Deal with Them

Entering into a new world means going out of your comfort zone. It may not be favorable, but it’s one way of welcoming new opportunities and discovering new potentials.

As long as you’re able to see how each experience can help you grow, you’ll be able to come out on top. If you choose to look at the bright side of things, you can get through the challenges you’ll face. After all, exposing yourself to such challenges will lead you to become a better version of yourself.

So when you’re dreading the uncertainty of your new job, keep these things in mind. Deal with each challenge one at a time, and you’ll find yourself making your way to the top in no time.


Author Bio

Rick Enrico is the CEO and Founder of SlideGenius, Inc., a presentation design agency with clients all over the world. He is also a blog enthusiast with a particular interest in Internet Marketing, writing full-time about how to become a more effective presenter on the SlideGenius blog. He currently oversees an experienced team of talented designers, software developers and marketing professionals that specialize in creating custom corporate presentations and cloud publishing applications. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Thanks, Rick, for a great post and awesome graphics! So happy to feature you on Punched Clocks!


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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