Tuesday Thoughts: What I’ve Learned from my First Job

As of now and as you can see from the title, I got my first job at Athleta! It’s exciting for me, because literally a week after graduation, my dad prompted me to start working on work resumes and applying to pretty much every single store at my local mall. Don’t get me wrong, I personally wanted to find a job as well, because there really is a benefit towards working over the summer, and not just for the paycheck. You learn all kinds of things and you’re tested in many ways. For me, my job has helped me achieve so many benefits towards my self-improvement journey. Sure, I could reserve myself for a job where I’m traveling on private jets and soaking up the sun for $1K a photo, but that kind of job is not for me for many reasons and I don’t want to affiliate myself with such a stereotype.

Not gonna lie, sometimes it’s been difficult to adjust to a new lifestyle that includes more independence and responsibility for my actions, whereas with school it’s easier to attribute your actions to peer or parental influence. I am so grateful that I hold an occupation that does not run by a 9-5 or 24/7 schedule, or isolate me in a work office where all I do is answer e-mails and calculate numbers. I surround myself in a stimulating environment, I meet new people, I represent a powerful movement and I develop connections in a loving community. But I won’t delve into much of that because it’s something everybody knows. I’m sure that a lot of you also have a job or at least know what it’s like to work, keep accountable of certain things and interact with strangers that you meet at work every single day as well, and you probably can relate to a couple of pointers I’ll list down below.

  • You won’t be able to complete everything. As someone who puts 110% of my effort into something, it’s a necessity for me to make sure that everything in a project is absolutely perfect. Whenever I find that one of my posts happens to have a spelling error or is missing content, it is just a complete disaster. On the other hand, I’ve found that it’s because sometimes your coworkers or your boss just wants you to know how to do everything and quicken your work pace, which is something I personally have to tend to as well. Everything you’re told to do is for a significant reason, whether you know right away or even weeks later.
  • Don’t take criticism lightly. Anything that your supervisor, boss or manager comments on regarding how you function in the work place should always be noted. That doesn’t mean you should take everything personally–obviously unless if that comment has nothing to do with your work and is a personal attack rather than actual criticism. Anyways, critiques can hurt, but it’s just a way for your bosses to show that they want to work for them and they want to see you improve. The next time you receive some critique or a suggestion on how to complete something differently, thank the person for the feedback. You can ask them why what you’re doing is wrong, and always be open to a new perspective of the situation.
  • You may (and probably will) go crazy. I receive my first task as soon as I check into the store. Awesome, because I know I have something to do and I won’t be sitting around like a fool, right? It is, until you’re sent to complete something else less than three minutes later. Next thing you know, there’s five different jobs on your mind and you don’t know which one to complete first! What I do is focus on the present moment and not worry too much about what will happen next. Think of everything as a new mission that you can always get back to later or the next day when you can start fresh.
  • People don’t always want a friendly face. Whenever a new customer walks into the store, I never fail to acknowledge them with a smile and ask them an open-ended question. However, not all of the customers/clients I’ve encountered are very responsive to my greetings, which is totally understandable. There are times when people just don’t walk to talk or want to be left alone. They could also be regular customers and already know what they’re looking for and they don’t need any help. Maybe they had a bad day or they’re going through something rough. Or they could just be really bitter people that you shouldn’t waste your energy on.
  • Always be on your game. There is never a time during my working hours when I sit down, except when I am asked to. You always need to be ready to do whatever you are told, no matter how tired you are. I generally don’t rest until my supervisor tells me I can take a break–however, depending on how often you work, you can take a break whenever you need to. But usually, when you think there’s nothing to do, there generally is, even during down time, whether that be straightening out clothes, clearing out inboxes, completing orders, sweeping the floor and other standards.
  • Stop working for the paycheck. If you have an occupation where all you can think about is how, when, where and what you will be paid at the end of the week or the month, then you shouldn’t even bother with the job. There are so many opportunities for you out there to pursue your dreams and to try new things, and if you are stagnating yourself in a 9-5 where all you do is totally boring shiz that drains you mentally and physically, then you are preventing yourself from living to your fullest potential. To be frank, that might mean that a 9-5 job where you dress in business attire and sit at a computer all day isn’t for you. Think about what you want to do with your life and start. Nowadays, we have social media at our fingertips and can communicate with companies just with the click of a button. You can be an artist, a model, an entrepreneur, a fashion designer, pretty much anything you want to be with all the resources at your disposal. If there really isn’t a way you can quit your present occupation, then you have to find the positives in your present workplace and the factors that will initiate any intrinsic motivation that will keep you fired up at your job. And sometimes, it’s honestly not bad at all once you get there, similarly to going to the gym. You walk in, you just begin, and you finish like a superstar.
  • Remember that you are representing something bigger. My dad always told me that as a waiter, it’s very easy for you to make the restaurant management look terrible if you exude your negative energy onto your customers. Think about it. Wouldn’t you think that the hiring system at a certain public facility was awful if all of the staff and service was absolutely cranky? You need to remember what your brand or company is all about before prioritizing your selfish desires, and exemplify the brand’s message by being friendly and attentive to clients. As harsh as it sounds, your client is probably not going to care that you just broke up with your partner or if your cat just passed away. If anything, a complaint from a client can get you fired. Deal with your personal problems another time and get to work without any external distractions. It is so much better to repress your feelings temporarily than for your employer to call you up because he or she received a heated call from a client that you mistreated.
  • No day is a perfect day. On days that started on a really bad note where technology wouldn’t cooperate with me or if I was slow to complete an emergency, a miracle would appear later in the day and save me just as if I were to start the day on a high note and work downhill from there. Not every customer you run into is going to want to converse with you beyond a simple hello. Not every goal is going to be met smoothly. Not every task you attempt at is going to be a hundred-percent perfect. All that matters is that you are aware of what you are doing and that you are giving it your all every single day. There’s also no such thing as a perfect worker, as we all have certain things we can improve upon.

If you know what it’s like to start a job or have a regular work schedule, I hope that you can relate to a few of these factors that I’ve learned with my first part-time job! Comment below what you do for a living and also what you have learned as a present or past employee!

What is/was your occupation(s)? What have you learned as a worker?

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Thoughts: What I’ve Learned from my First Job

  1. If you work for a paycheck, you’re going to wind up really hating your job, so I totally agree. Also, criticism… It’s hard sometimes for people NOT to take it personally… But there is constructive criticism vs. attacking criticism and typically it’s all constructive, especially if you JUST started working there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Working at Athleta sounds like such a good fit for you! And I can totally relate to not taking criticism lightly. In my past jobs supervisors have usually been more than friendly the first time I make a mistake, but making the same mistake over and over just leaves them feeling frustrated that you aren’t listening. I definitely had to work on not taking comments personally though. In all reality, my supervisors were probably just trying to help me do a better job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good advice! I’ve always focused on the job, not the money. That said, there sure have been some jobs that I really liked and some, not so much. I loved being a camp counselor for five and six year olds, the Sears assembly line job, not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seems like such a suitable job for you. 🙂
    Two summers ago, I worked full-time at a baby daycare in St-Eustache, Quebec. I also worked as a skating instructor for my city’s recreational skating program throughout high school, but I haven’t worked since coming to uni. Next winter I’ll start co-op, and will have a full-time job for four months in the winter – hopefully something phyisotherapy-related, or working with kids.


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