I started my graduate job almost 2 years ago and as a woman, who’s not white, a bit of an introvert, not the greatest public speaker… let’s just say there’s a lot I wish I knew when I first stepped into the office of my first corporate job—that would have made my life a lot easier today.
A couple of a days ago I caught myself feeling pretty confident, efficient and generally having quite a comfortable moment with myself at work.
I then immediately realised that I have only been feeling like this quite recently and it’s due to a lot of self-improvement. I was able to reflect on the things I’ve changed or learned since joining the workplace and I want to share them immediately to help anyone out there about to join their first corporate job.
The infamous Imposter Syndrome
My best advice is to fake your confidence and in every situation: believe that you’re at the top of your game and that you’re always right. This will help you give off the right energy and help you get used to feeling like you are at the top of your game and are always right 😆
Literally no one knows what they’re doing it – everyone is winging it – no one has been caught out yet!
NEVER, EVER, EVER write in an email: just / please / possibly. Also no exclamation marks. Replace these terms with:
- just → want
- please → never say this
- possibly → never say this
Always speak and write with brevity. Be succinct in emails. No one will ever think you’re being rude. They will actually listen to you more and you will have a better online presence.
Don’t stop enjoying yourself
Get involved with things that you’re passionate about—don’t just do extra-curricular activities for the sake of it. No one really talks about this – everyone recommends just getting involved with extra curricular activities in order to get promoted. But these activities can be in areas you’re actually passionate about, and don’t need to be directly in line with your work.
Work as if you’re a level above
Take note of what your seniors are doing:
- how they speak
- how they advocate for themselves
- what they speak about and with who
And mimic this! Avoid just doing as you’re told, a sense of proactivity gets you a lot further than just working hard at one given thing.
Networks are actually really cool and useful
I spent the longest time thinking that networks were this horrible thing where you used people for favours; I scratch my back, you scratch mine.
But after listening to the audiobook ‘Act like a leader, think like a leader’, the author usefully highlighted that friendships are also a network – where the relationship is based more off of common interests, similarities and personal ‘favours’ i.e. spending time together etc.
Professional networks don’t have to be any different. When you’re in a junior role, it can be easy to think that a network can’t be useful at such an early stage. That you don’t have much to offer to a mentor, but you have:
- a new perspective on life & work that is useful and often forgotten about at the top – as funnily enough junior staff tend to get drowned out in a room full of executives
- an eagerness to learn and grow
- your own network!