Upon leaving college, I reverted back to an old job at a Grocery Store and pondered what I was doing with my life. It didn’t take too long before I applied at a marketing job some friends of mine were working at and I was able to start my post-college career. I knew I had to finally start going somewhere instead of reverting to lazy old habits and being stuck in a job I hated.
Something that nobody told me, and I had to realize for myself, is that negativity is everywhere. My first job in my field was nowhere near as stressful, annoying, or smelly as my grocery store job. Yet I still found myself internally complaining a lot.
I’m not saying that every job can be great if you want it to be. I’m saying, change your mindset to focus on being the best worker you can be, and to have the best experience you can make for yourself.
Your first post-college job is important. While it may be just a “first job” for your career, it’s also the first career step you will take. Of all things, you don’t want to screw it up.
So here are a few ways you can stay positive at your first career job, even when it seems to be crashing down over your head.
1. Take Coworker Complaints With a Grain of Salt
Every company has those employees that view it as their task to complain about business as usual. You’ll know who I’m talking about when I say nothing is ever their fault or happenstance. It always falls on someone in charge or another co-worker.
These people might be really good at their jobs, but they feel burned, and expressing their frustrations constantly makes themselves feel better than everyone.
They most likely have many valid complaints as well. No company is perfect. However, when these complaints come up, question them, and honestly ask if it’s something worth stressing or fighting over. Also, be patient – things may change if you give them time.
Take everything as a grain of salt and if the thing being complained about isn’t a big deal or a problem, subtract it from your brain and continue working as usual.
2. Use It as a Learning Experience
Most people do not make their first post-grad jobs permanent, and if you don’t want to you don’t have to. Something you need to do, however, is learning from your work. If the whole point of your first job is to experience, then it would make no sense for you to come and go only for the paycheck – that’s a path to stagnancy and probably a potential firing.
Get all you can out of where you are. Learn the most about your industry or job field as you possibly can, because the actual experience is the thing that gets you to a job you do want to be permanent. Trying to learn makes your bosses like you more as well – they will see that you’re a good employee and your reputation will hopefully precede you in the business.
3. Appreciate It for What It is
It’s okay to enjoy things, even if they’re not what you want them to be forever. So enjoy your job. It’s where you are right now and even if it’s not your final destination, you’re allowed to appreciate it for what it is.
I think that people get so caught up with where they’re not that they miss the steps it takes to get there. It’s a little ridiculous to spend most of your day miserable by choice.
If you can’t at least be thankful for the little things at your job, then you probably won’t know a good thing when it happens. So appreciate your job for what it is – a means to money, an experience bank, a resume builder, and something to do.
4. Take Care of Yourself
I know from starting my current job at 7 a.m. each morning that a lack of sleep hurts your experience at your job as well as your productivity. Even writing this has been hard due to going to bed late last night. You have to take good care of yourself, or else nothing will be fun, especially when real stress rolls around.
Don’t use things like drinking as a way to cope with stress at work, either. Do healthy things to combat stress: work out, exercise, spend time with family, read, and most of all, get the right amount of sleep. Remember, if you’re not taking care of your own body, your body can’t take care of business. So get rest, stay healthy, and be productive.