I’ve been contemplating this post for a while and I think I finally know how to approach it. Disclaimer: it’s about work, so if you’re not in the mood to think about work, feel free to ignore this post all together.
Leaving school and starting your career can’t be summed up into one single post, so this is going to end up being a series of posts regarding the following topics that I find to be the most important, as I’m almost two years out of school and into work:
1. Doing things you don’t want to do but you gotta do them when you’re a scrub
2. Communication (as in: observing interactions and figuring out how to process and use that knowledge to your advantage)
3. Mentoring the new ones, and finding your mentor
4. Developing your skills and communication pt. 2
5. Preparing for your next step
Ok… this is not really that organized but these are the main buckets in which I can funnel my experiences over the past year and nine months as a new associate at a Big 4.
So, I’ll start with the things that you probably don’t want to do. Honestly, when you start at a new company or on a new team, it’s not the most fun time. It’s NOT comparable to joining a sorority (which is what I’m familiar with) where you’re showered in gifts and praise and everyone wants to be your friend. You have do the work no one wants to do because you can’t say no to it. You have to kiss everyone’s ass. You have to constantly show improvement and growth to keep progressing, and that’s a lot of freaking pressure when you’re not even sure if you LIKE this job to begin with. But you do it to show that you can, and you treat is as the most important thing you’ve got going on in your life because you want to succeed.
Give your all, all the time, even if it feels extra.
Take notes on everything. I took notes on calls, and sent them to my team. I took notes when someone would give me instructions on something. I took notes during trainings that I know now we’re pretty useless. But get in the habit because you’re a knowledge sponge and you’re trying your best to absorb.
That project that’s not due for two weeks? Do it now, because you probably won’t do it right, but if you’re proactive and get it done early, someone might be nice enough to help you fix it before you have to send it to your scary manager.
Offer help to everyone that you possibly can, even if you’re tired and don’t like the person you’re offering help to. Every night before I even thought about leaving the office (through my first year, and even sometimes now) I went around to anyone on my team who was still there, and asked if I could help them with anything. Being helpful and showing that you’re dedicated to helping the group succeed as a whole is the definition of a team player, and it’s something you want to be if you work with a team.
Ask good questions in a smart way. Can’t find something on your team’s share drive? Look for it before asking, and when you ask, ask someone on your same level and not your manager. Questions should usually start at the bottom and move up if they need to. I bothered the shit out of the other associates on my team, and I expect new associates to do the same to me. When working on a project, do as much as you can and note questions as you go, then send them or ask them all at once to whoever your superior on that project is. If you just keep sending them questions one by one, all day, I promise that person may hate you by the end of that project.
Your first six months-give or take-may be the hardest of your life (or not… I don’t know your life and have been super lucky so this was one of the harder things I’ve ever dealt with.) I honestly have no words to help you get through this because it is just going to suck. Just wait it out and get through it. Come early, stay late, and take solace in this part not lasting forever.
Keep in touch on insta if you want to see what I wear to work (and other views from inside my cube.)