A fresher in a corporate world is more like Alice in wonderland. They do not know what to do, how to proceed, how to behave and stand confused in a crowded room with people running here and there doing their jobs. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a mentor to guide them wisely through, so that their initial step into the working world is smooth. The first job is not just important in terms of career but is also a kind of doorway into your future. Hence those baby steps into the adult world have to be taken carefully, smartly and effectively.
30 Tips to help you survive in the big bad corporate world:
1. Get ready for a hard schedule: Gear yourself for a change in your life schedule and be ready to face a life all upside down. You will be now expected to work eight hours or more, perhaps you will have assignments or workshops on weekends and your afterhours too may be taken up by workplace stress. Get yourself ready for these challenges by being disciplined, eating healthy and staying happy.
2. Look good: Adhere to the workplace attire and be well-groomed. Look clean and maintain hygiene. Looking handsome or beautiful is not what is required but you should look presentable and well turned out.
3. Learn to be punctual: It was ok to be late at college where your teachers were lenient to you most of the time because they considered you as kids and let you be. But in a workplace, you are counted as an adult and hence you need to learn to be on your own. Being late in office is a strict no-no, especially in your first job. Be punctual every day. That is one way to show that you are serious about the job.
4. Show respect: Even if your office has employees close to your age, it isn’t the place to be all friendly. Show respect to all, young or seniors and maintain a respectable communication with all of them.
5. Try to be a team player: Participate in team activities enthusiastically and give a hand where you can. When you show your team spirit skills, you will be automatically liked and you will have an easy time being part of the office group.
6. Avoid gossiping sessions: This advice is not just for freshers but to all those who are working but it is particularly important in the first job. You will hear stories and rumours but never add one from yourself and you should not even spread these stories. Avoid gossips and gossipers tactfully.
7. Take stereotyping in your stride: When you are in an office fresh out of college, there will be peers who will think of you as an irresponsible kid, who is just out there to have some fun and who is addicted to social media, self-obsessed, careless and so on. Do not be disheartened. Don’t you pass judgements on people? It is by your action and your sincerity at your work that you should change opinions about yourself and not by sulking or arguing.
8. Do not over spend: It is easy to be over the moon when you get your first pay check. The amount can make you swoon and tempt you to spend recklessly. Create a personal budget and try to stick to it. Spend on things that you really need and even if you go shopping, be a wise shopper. Learn to save and respect money. This lesson will go a long way in your life too.
9. Keep looking for challenges: Your first job should be full of challenges and if not, it is not worth pursuing. If you find your regular job responsibilities to be mundane, approach your boss and request for more challenging work. The more demanding work you take up in your first job, the better success awaits you later.
10. Never let go of your values and morals: A job is important all right, but if it is going to mean that you have to compromise on your ideals and values, then it is best not to continue. You will never be happy in a place where you are daily questioning the methods and policies. Remember, each day of your first job is important and hence it is better to find a place where you fit in.
11. This is not your last stop: No matter how much you love the job, it is good to remember that this isn’t a place where you are expected to remain till you retire. If you just stick into the daily routine, you will have a hard time if the company decides to close down suddenly or gives you a pink slip. Do well at your job but at the same time, once you are ready, do explore options outside.
12. Keep learning: Learning is growing. Just because you finished your formal education does not mean that your learning also stops. If you want to ensure that you climb up the ladder in your career in the corporate world, then update your skills and knowledge by taking new courses, attending seminars and workshops and also taking up new responsibilities in your office.
13. Maintain professionalism: The corporate world is a formal place where work counts more than anything else. Hence maintaining a professional attitude will help you cope. Learning to behave professionally can’t be learned in a day or two but it is a gradual process. Be a professional at all levels, and each minute. It is one of the best ways to make the transition from college into a corporate world easy and smooth.
14. Develop a good network: Your first job is also about developing your connections. Be in touch with colleagues and even if you happen to leave the job, it makes sense to be in touch with colleagues and seniors.
15. Maintain a happy attitude towards life: Since it is your first job, you may happen to be too stressed about even little setbacks in your life. Learn to deal with stress and be happy. Just focus on not repeating mistakes and learning, so that each day is a new experience. Keep moving.
16. Do not be submissive: Flattery isn’t always the best policy. Understand that being a sycophant can’t take you anywhere, so avoid it. There will be managers who love those who flatter them and they may be even partial to those who behave so. But you needn’t be one of them. Show respect but maintain a distance.
17. Respect boundaries: Respect your company and that means not abusing it. You may get stationeries and internet but they are for professional purposes. You can land in a scoop if you misuse your rights and not just in your first job, any time of your career.
18. Maintain the deadlines: Respect deadlines and try to complete the given work in the specified time. Even if you are not punished for delay in work, it does not mean that you should be complacent.
19. Learn everything about your company: One of the survival tips for the corporate world is to be well-versed with the place you are working. Learn about its way of functioning and its annual reports and policies. The more you learn about your company, the more you will feel connected with it.
20. Learn to say NO: When you are a newbie, there will be people who will like to take advantage of you and try to push extra work on you. Be wary of such situations and learn to say no when required. Do not allow others to take you for a ride or shoot from your shoulders.
21. Work smart and not hard: Working hard is so passé. What you need to survive in a corporate working world is smart working strategies. Try to complete a work quickly, learn new technology, and learn steps to do work more efficiently in lesser time rather than taking a whole day.
22. Be friendly but not all are your best friends: The corporate world is filled with different kinds of people, as any society is. You will meet good people, bad ones, the middle ones and even crooked ones. Maintain a cordial relationship with everyone but do not expect anyone to be your best friend. Maintain a safe distance and do not be too trusting in the initial stages. Beware but be friendly, this is a trick that can ensure survival in a corporate world.
23. Learn the tricks of time management: The best way to manage time at office is to keep your personal and professional life apart. If you bring your personal issues to work and take your work stress home, you will never be happy. When you are in office, focus on work and divide each hour to specific tasks. Manage your time efficiently so that each day of your life is productive.
24. Look into details: Learn to pay attention to details. Be it reading and replying to all e-mails, going through each and every point for the meeting, reading about dates and timings carefully, proof checking your report or even memorizing names of people, nailing details will help you much in your career.
25. Accept criticism and praise in your stride: When you are new in the corporate world, criticism can be hard to digest. At the same time, showering of praise can make you swell with pride. Both reactions will not do good for your career. Hence, learn to accept criticism and praise and move on. Let harsh comments help you learn a thing or two and let compliments encourage you to work better.
26. Take risks: The early days in the corporate world is the best time to take risks. Explore new paths, take up new responsibilities and do not be afraid to take risks in job. It will offer new learning avenues for sure.
27. Do not take leave frequently: Unless and until there is an emergency, do not remain absent in office. When you are new in the workplace, remaining absent too frequently does not send a positive image of yourself.
28. Use your social media profiles more responsibly: Now that you are taking baby steps in the corporate world, it is important that your social media profiles too reflect your new position. Do not post pictures of your parties and vulgar photos on your page. If you have a LinkedIn Profile, then update it and post your new position and the company name.
29. Take care of your health: Health is indeed wealth. Follow a healthy lifestyle so that you remain healthy. If you are physically fit, you will be able to handle workplace stress and responsibilities well.
30. Be who you are: Though you will have to adjust and adapt, do not try to ape anyone. Be who and what you are. Maintain your individuality. Learn from people but do not try to be like them. You are you and you are unique.
The corporate world can be confusing and intimidating at first, but as you gel into the culture, you will find the going easy. Take each step wisely and do not hurry, either about opinions or strategies. These 30 steps will help you maintain your foothold and help you survive in the brutal corporate world smoothly and happily.