Are you just entering the labour market?
Have you just started your first job? And are you struggling to settle in and live up to your own and others’ expectations? If so, you are not the only one. Studies show that many young persons feel pressured and inadequate in their first job. But it does not have to be this way.
Here are some tips on how to best handle your new reality and the pressure of expectations, while still maintaining a good work-life balance. The tips have been developed in collaboration with Søren Schultz Hansen, one of Denmark’s leading youth researchers.
Be prepared for changes
There is a big difference between the theories and time to seek in-depth information of your student life and the fast-paced, results-oriented ‘real’ working life. Take it easy and give yourself time. Remember that you can always ask your colleagues for help and guidance. No one expects you to be able to perform all tasks from the outset.
Frequently align expectations with your manager
You cannot know what you do not know. Therefore, book weekly meetings with your manager to set goals and align expectations for your tasks. Remember that it is okay to ask questions, even if you are no longer a new employee. This way, you avoid that a negative thought pattern about your own capabilities takes over. Anyone can have doubts about whether they are good enough at work – even your experienced colleagues.
Communicate explicitly and clearly
Things and logics that are self-explanatory and obvious to you may not always be so to your colleagues and managers. Your communication therefore has to be clear, constructive and precise.
Proactive and committed
Do not be afraid to take on new tasks. Take initiative and perhaps take on tasks outside your normal work area to show your interest and commitment to the job. Mistakes are an invaluable source of learning if you want to develop your skills, but remember not to take on more than you can manage.
Build meaningful relationships
Invest in good relationships with your colleagues by being accommodating, co-operative and by actively participating in social activities. Colleagues whom you do not have anything in common with on a personal level may be important to you from a work perspective.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Make sure, especially at the beginning of your working life, that you set aside time to do good things for yourself. When you rest and perform activities that are not related to your work, your brain has time to process whatever might be troubling you.