What I've learned from my first few months of work.

In January, I started my first official job. I don’t think I have ever been as excited and nervous about anything in my life. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and I was also really scared that I would hate it. I had taken a leap of faith going into a career that I have been dreaming about for over two years. In my first 5 months I have learned so much about myself, my career and about working full time. I’m sure I will still learn a lot more in the coming months, but for now here’s what I’ve learned so far…

You don’t know much, and that’s okay

It’s shocking to see how little university prepares you for the working world. On my first day after meeting my fellow graduates, I felt like a complete outsider. Everyone studied some form of a design degree and I felt like my knowledge wasn’t adequate. After the first week, I realised that even though I didn’t study design I knew just as much as my coworkers because we all knew nothing.

Teamwork is harder than you think

I have always believed I’m great at teamwork, I mean I even added it to my LinkedIn profile. My degree had so many group projects I forgot what it was like to work by myself. But working on a group project was easy compared to working in a team at work. The thing is that in university you will mainly be exposed to people who study the same degree and therefore to some extent have the same thought process as you. Getting into the consulting industry, people come from different backgrounds and the way they approach a problem will be different. This took time to figure out and I am definitely still figuring it out.

You won’t get along with everyone

Now this isn’t new news to me; however, I’ve always thought that in a professional setting people would at least act, you know, professional. Keeping in mind that this is most of my co-workers' first jobs too, not everyone has learned the needed skills to be professional. Some people will not like you and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. My advice on this is to just accept it and move on.

Never settle for a crappy work environment

Repeat after me: No amount of money, benefits or bonuses can make up for a crappy work life. I cannot stress this enough. Working a full-time job is already not the nicest thing ever, but if your work environment sucks you will definitely hate your job. One thing to also keep in mind is the fact that you also contribute to the work environment and culture. Finding a work environment where you feel comfortable but you are also pushed to progress is extremely important. Luckily for me, I have found a work environment that suits me well and that I also love!

Time is a commodity

How you choose to spend your weekend, evenings and your days off of work really does matter. Take the time to do something that makes you happy and allow you to fully rest before heading back to work.

Don’t live to work, work to live.


About the author

Liza-Mari Wolhuter profile picture

Liza-Mari Wolhuter

Liza-Mari Wolhuter

I'm a junior UX/UI Designer at Retro Rabbit. In my spare time I like to go hiking with friends or bake sourdough bread. Read more from Liza-Mari Wolhuter...