Starting a placement is exciting. We love talking to students right after they’ve started (we have a first week catch up call with them all) and hear what their early experiences in a real job are like. Although there’s often the usual struggles – like waking up early and getting to work by 9am every morning (welcome to the real life, dear students!) – they’re all making the most of the experience and tell us that being able to apply their degree knowledge to a real working environment is great fun and a welcome challenge.
Don’t try too hard
If you’re the confident type you might want to try and impress your new workmates by being pushy or sharing your ideas openly. Try not to do this; you’ll have time later on and you won’t be expected to come into a new situation and have all the answers.
See your manager as someone you help, not someone who tells you what to do
Yes, in theory, your manager gets to tell you what to do. In practice, that’s probably not why she hired you.
Here’s a better approach: Your manager has things she needs to get done. See your job as helping her get those things done. The more you help her achieve her goals and targets the more highly you will be valued.
Plus you’ll find it’s a lot easier to work hard when you feel you’re helping someone instead of obeying them. And you’ll enjoy your work more too – it’s a lot more fun and an infinitely more rewarding to help than to comply.
Go the extra mile – and often
Early on you probably don’t have all the skills you need. You probably don’t have all the experience. You probably don’t have all the contacts and connections.
But you can have the willingness to work extremely hard.
Work hard and everyone around you will forgive a certain lack of skill and experience. They’ll know you’re trying – and sometimes, at least for a while, that’s all that matters.
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