Life Lessons: Important Lessons From My First Job Experience After College

June 18, 2015

By: Anna Agoncillo
Image Credits: IModels Holdings
This is especially addressed for the young adults who had just graduated from college. :) 

Finally, after grueling years of hard work, you have graduated! The next chapter ahead would not be easier but, I hope you find success and happiness in the process. 

A couple of weeks after I graduated, I immediately landed my first full-time job. I was overwhelmed with how fast everything went! I know that there were going to be challenges ahead from workplace drama to workplace etiquette yet deep inside me, I felt excited and ready to transition to the working life. 

In the beginning, my goal was to make enough money to save up for my graduate studies and to help my parents in the household expenses. I did so. I gave about 10% of my salary to my parents and 50% would go to my savings account. Aside from following my long-term goals, here were the important lessons I realized from my first job experience after college...


As you start transitioning to the working life, everyday would be a constant process of development and learning. Learn as much as you can from the experienced people around you who had been working for years. They are the ones whom you can turn to if you have concerns or worries.

I was very lucky to have an open relationship with my colleagues. They taught me how to properly address complaints and how to not take everything personally. This open relationship eventually blossomed to treasured friendships. 


I learned this lesson the hard way as I am the type of person who would try to fix the problem first before asking for anyone's help. Come to think of it, the problem would not exist if I asked beforehand. Hence, it is vital to ask honest questions (even if it sounds "stupid") rather than making assumptions. Everybody makes mistakes; the good news is that everything can be fixed. But, do your best to never make that mistake again.


Initiative and enthusiasm are charming qualities good employees possess. Showing your superiors that your are eager to learn, are dedicated to do every task, and are taking control of your responsibilities would make them feel that you are an asset to the company. I made it a point to exude enthusiasm, give my best, and work as quickly as possible. Even as I left my first job, my superiors considered me as an invaluable part of the team. It made me realize that my efforts were all worth it.


When I was younger, I worked part-time to buy clothes, movie tickets, and more materialistic things. I never saw the true value of money until I had my first full-time job. It is very hard to spend the money you worked hard for! This is because you know the exact amount of time and how much sweat you pour just to earn your month's salary. Adding to that, I live in the most expensive city in the world - Singapore. Being independent with my finances made me realize how important it is to practice budgeting and scribing your expenses. 


As much as you work hard, you must also play hard. Reward yourself with a responsible amount of 5-8% of your monthly salary. Find interests outside of work such as dancing, swimming, or cooking to cushion your daily stress. 
Also, rewarding yourself is a good way to keep you motivated. Personally, I found blogging as a passionate pastime. Who knew that I would be a featured writer soon after!


My previous boss encouraged us to propose changes and to outwardly speak our opinions in order to improve the business and the workplace relationships. Although some of your colleagues have more experience than you, keep in mind that your opinion is equally valuable. Be brave enough to propose change if you think it serves others well. Nothing will happen unless you try. 


Facing conflicts such as customer complaints are probably one of the nerve wrecking things I encountered as a newbie in the working scene. At first I prefer to hid in my senior employee's shadow but then a friend told me that it was better to practice conflicts while young. Not only because people are able to forgive you easier, but also because you are able to build conflict resolution skills that you will benefit from in the long run. Be firm and polite when dealing with conflicts. Also, as a Psychology major, I always put my self in customer's position and perspective. This capacity is called empathy. 


According to Dr. Gustav Kuhn from Goldsmiths, University of London: businesses love Psychology graduates as they are able to handle data while still giving a humanistic touch. Furthermore, a Psychology degree can open a wide array of career paths. 

Being a Psychology degree holder allowed me to understand and apply what I learned from the study of human behavior and mental processes. As I said above, I practiced empathy during conflicts. Also, I memorized the customers' countless names by using enhanced memory and learning techniques. 

Aside from these skills, Dr, Susan Krauss Whitbourne enumerated the 10 valuable skills that make Psychology degree holders highly desirable to the job market. Read about it here.
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Browse the previous posts: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy And Social Psychology: Fake It 'Till You Make It True Art Appreciation Boosts Stroke Recovery Physically And Psychologically

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  1. Perfect timing, Miss P. This is great advice for the post-graduation season.


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