13 Habits to Break Once You Start Working Your First Job


It’s happened. You have your first real job. You’re excited and you want to be awesome at it. The good news is that you’ve found this article, which will help you do just that.

These are habits that many people have, but they are counterproductive when trying to succeed in the real world. Start working on the ones you have now, so you’ll be the best you can be at your first job.

Procrastinating

You did it in college and in your personal life, but when starting a new job, it’s the worst thing you can do. When you procrastinate, you end up increasing the chances of not meeting your deadlines. That looks incredibly bad and could even cost you your job. In addition, if you wait until the last minute, you may have questions that can’t be answered quickly. That will definitely make it difficult to get the job done on time.

Being on Your Phone 24/7

Your phone is precious to you, but your job is more precious. Many employers will be quick to anger if they see you on your phone during work hours. Not only that, but when you’re on your phone, you’re not doing your work. Of course, this goes along with procrastinating, and did we mention that’s something you shouldn’t do anymore?

Tip: Keep your phone turned off or on vibrate in your purse during the day. Take it out at lunch and on breaks, but no other times.

Blaming Other People

If you’re quick to point the finger at others, you may want to consider stopping that. Look in the mirror and practice pointing at yourself. No matter what it is, always find a way that you contributed to the situation.

Why? Because when you blame other people, you take a back seat to solving the problem. When you take ownership, you have control on resolving situations. Besides, being able to admit when you were wrong or when you contributed to a problem is an incredibly mature and grown-up thing to do, and if nothing else, will definitely earn you brownie points with the boss.

Being Unorganized

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It’s fine to be unorganized at home, but at work you need to be able to be on top of things. When someone wants to know something, you need to tell that person quickly, and that’s way easier to do that when you’re organized. It also helps keeping you from double-booking yourself for meetings or forgetting about a deadline.

Start organization as soon as your first day. It’s when you get behind that it starts to get out of control. Just be mindful of it each day and you’ll be able to keep on top of it.

Talking About Other People

The fastest way to make enemies and risk your job is to say the wrong thing about someone in the office. When what you say gets back to that person, you never know what could happen. Just don’t do it. If someone else says something, keep it to yourself. Your job is where you work, not the place to get involved with drama. It also comes off as super immature and unprofessional to talk smack about a co-worker or even simply whine about your boss. Remember that it’s so not the adult thing to do to talk about other people in the office, and it’ll really rub people the wrong way if you do.

Keep this in mind if you start to become close with co-workers or hang out with some of them after work. Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all on talking badly about those who are not there with you.

Not Engaging in Stress Relief

Stress will weigh you down and keep you from being productive. When you let stress build up without releasing it somehow, you’ll end up miserable. It’s important to take care of yourself every single day, so that you can handle anything that comes your way.

Remember that you’re totally entitled to a work-life balance. We suggest creating a policy of unplugging from work when you’re home. If you’re in the kind of job where maybe your boss might need you when you’re not in the office, make sure you come up with some sort of agreement between the two of you where you have at least a few hours unplugged from your office Gmail account!

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Not Exercising

This goes along with taking care of yourself. Exercise not only reduces stress, but it also keeps your energy up during the day. Plus, you’re probably going to be sitting at a desk all day and will need a way to stay active– a great gym workout is a good way to go! Take it slow so you don’t hurt yourself and ask your doctor before your start any exercise regimen. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to your daily workout.

Eating Unhealthy

When you eat healthy foods, you are fueling your body to give you the energy you need to work hard. If you eat unhealthy, you end up feeling fatigued and unmotivated. If you want to make this job part of your success in life, be sure to give your body the nutrition it needs. Don’t forget, snacks are super important! Pack a sliced up apple or some baby carrots to munch on to help you get through that afternoon slump or when you’re tummy starts grumbling.

Multitasking

As much as you believe that multitasking helps you get more done, it really doesn’t. What happens is that you end up with a whole bunch of stuff undone, which looks really bad to your employers. Concentrate on one task until it’s done and then move on to the next. If something pops up that you absolutely need to take care of, then by all means, do it. However, go right back to the first task.

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Not Sleeping

You may have been able to function on four hours of sleep in college, but that doesn’t work as well when you’re working all day long. Besides, who can manage to stay on Netflix until 2 in the morning and then catch the 7:30 train? Not us, that’s for sure. Get at least seven hours, which is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. This way you’ll be alert, refreshed and ready to rock your first job.

Wanting to Be Perfect

There’s no such thing as perfect, so stop trying to be that way. Do what you need to do and do it well. That’s all you should ever be concerned about. If something isn’t right, fix it, but don’t beat yourself over the head because something isn’t perfect.

You’re in an entry-level job because that’s exactly what you are– entry level. Your bosses don’t expect you to do everything perfectly, and are ready (and excited) to help you learn more about the industry and want to foster your growth as a professional. Striving to be perfect all of the time and not letting yourself make a mistake won’t impress your bosses, and probably will lead to major burnout.

Letting Others Do the Work

That might have worked when you were part of groups in college classes, but it’s not going to work in the real world. Co-workers expect you to be involved in discussions and projects. This is your time to step up and take initiative. It matters more than you believe.

Like we said above, don’t be afraid to let yourself make a mistake. People sometimes take the backseat not necessarily because they’re lazy, but because they’re afraid of being wrong. Letting yourself be wrong, and learning why you were, is a huge part of the learning curve of a new job. Actively contributing to a project is exactly the kind of thing that will catch your boss’s attention in the best way possible.

Being Negative

Negativity is super contagious, and you definitely don’t want to be responsible for spreading that around the office. Negativity is not something you should rely on to make yourself feel better when something goes wrong. It will only cast you further into the depths of darkness that could end up risking your productivity.

Stay positive as much as possible. Turn every situation into a positive one no matter how difficult that can be for you. It takes practice, but with time and effort, you can end up with a positive outlook on life.

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Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a blog dedicated to helping readers navigate the job search and work world to find happiness and success. She specializes in career advice but is also a health nut and DIY junkie with a passion for living life to the fullest. You can follow Sarah @SarahLandrum

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