Few people can say their first job is their dream job.
Perhaps what you're doing at work right now isn't even remotely related to your dream job or what you hope to be doing in future. No matter how dire the situation at the moment, here are 4 good habits you should cultivate.
Even if you do claw your way into a better job later on, you'll be glad you've mastered the following.
Determine how much to save, no matter how little
There's a high chance your first job will have you earning one of the lowest salaries you'll experience in your career. There's also a high chance you'll end up telling yourself that it's impossible to save money, and that you'll do so when you find a new job or get a raise. Unfortunately, you'll soon realise that when you're older, your salary might be higher but so will be your expenses.
At this point in your life, you probably have as few liabilities are you'll ever have. Hence, learn how to save now before your obligations start piling up. Examine your monthly expenses and commit to saving a particular amount, no matter how small. If you manage to become a disciplined saver, you'll benefit from it no matter what job you move on to in future.
Brainstorm ways to improve at your job and raise your salary
In order to do well financially, you'll have to be strategic about when you switch jobs, ask for raises and perform at work.
The sooner you start thinking about work in terms of strategy, the sooner you'll save yourself from years of disillusionment as your salary remains stagnant. Take a leaf out of Larry's book and learn to be proactive about your own career development. In this first job, brainstorm to find ways to improve on the job rather than just passively living out your days behind your desk.
When you've been there for a while, it's also time to start thinking about how you can raise your salary, perhaps by transitioning into a new role or taking on new responsibilities and then asking for a raise.
Learn to work efficiently
Singaporeans suffer from famously poor work-life balance, as the many office workers who stay at work late into the night will tell you. However, not everyone who stays late at work is really working all that hard.
Make a promise never to fall into that pattern, and learn how to work as efficiently as possible. Even if your workload is heavy, never stop innovating ways to get the job done more quickly and more efficiently. This might mean committing certain information to memory so you don't have to waste time looking for it when you need it, grouping certain tasks together or simply doing more demanding work when your energy is at its peak.
Always acquire skills that you can carry over into your next job
For instance, young lawyers can often ask to be sent for courses and seminars conducted by the Law Society, which can then be useful to them even if they move on to roles in banks or companies in other industries.
Think of yourself as a sponge, ready to soak up any knowledge that could be useful to you in life. Even if your job is a complete bore, there must be something you can learn. Your role might not be ideal but perhaps one of your colleagues in a more interesting role would be willing to share some tips and tricks.
Keep an open mind and you'll see there's more you can get out of your job than just free stationery.