What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your career?
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Douglas Lemmo, P.E.
I love your questions!
I work helping people to find jobs. What I wish I knew is how focused the social services are on "measurements."
1. How many customers did you help today?
2. How many job referrals did you give?
etc etc etc
Unfortunately, it is more important to give out a bunch of job referrals than it is to make sure the client has a good resume or is able to hold their own in an interview. That is because whoever funds us desires "accountability" so everything has to be measured. It's not possible to measure the effect of talking with someone for 20 minutes and boosting their self-esteem, or helping them develop a resume that will get them to the next step. I love what I do, and get a lot of positive feedback from my customers. I could do without the statistics!
Jasanpreet Kaur Bhatia
Your question really made me stop and think. I had very little idea of what it meant to work as a psychologist on a day to day basis. I originally wanted to teach at a university level but couln't get a job there. However, in retrospect I am glad i didn't go this route. Academic positions as a rule don't pay well and the politics and infighting among faculty members can be really vicious. After working in several mental health centers I went into private practice, which was immensely rewarding. However I wish I had known more about running a business. In addition to working with my clients I had to think about marketing, billing, paying taxes, etc., none of which was ever addressed in my training.
One of my professors told me "a degree is as good as your first job." Even if you are well prepared in a given field there will be many things you never thought of and have to learn once you start working, but this can be fun and needn't be unpleasant.
I wish I had taken more time in Highschool to better understand student loans, schooling options and career paths. I went to college based on a dream of playing college football and less of a vision around what I wanted to do for the next 40 years of my life. I tried finance, then international business before selecting Architecture as my major. When I came out of school I went into Sales and Entrepreneurship before landing with a corporate company where I found my passion is really in people leadership and development.
Looking back, I would have liked to taken some time to pull back, job shadow careers and then make a more educated decision on what I needed to enter that career field based on degree of choice and school. That would have saved me time and money and ultimately, lead me to my passion sooner. Hope this helps!
Great question. I hope you are getting value from each responders' piece of advice and are able to apply it to your career search. I wish I had completed more internships in my field prior to choosing the avenue I pursued. A major is extremely broad encompassing numerous positions across a variety of industries. I think the best way to determine if this would be a fit is to experience it and internships are a great way to accomplish this. I only completed one internship. I wish I could have completed at least a few so that I had a better idea of what the day to day was like in each position, in each industry so I could ensure the choice I made was truly the best fit for me.
Thank you for a good question, that got me thinking...
There are always matters we realize in hindsight, and wish we knew before starting something. For me personally, I would say that I wish I knew the power of not being afraid to ask for help when needed.
I'm more of a shy person, in life and at work. I have come to see the value, and impact, of asking questions or for help when I need it. It's beneficial to those you are working for, as they get insight into your status or progress, or if you need additional assistance or resources. It's beneficial for you as you don't have to go about figuring things out on your own, you are able to share your thought process on a matter and get guidance on what the better or correct method would be.
So keep asking questions.
That the first few years into your career will be hard and not the funniest work. But remember, it's helping build a better foundation for later in life. Lastly, your 20's are hard and trust your gut when it comes to your career. If you are unhappy, then leave or find another opportunity that make you happy.
At the beginning of my career, what I'd thought was how I learn requirements from seniors or books even from experiences so that I could contribute to business. For now this is still the same thought that I have but business is much more complicated than I thought before, tough things make me harder were people or environment rather than what you do. Therefore, I am not sure if this would be a right answer but wanted to be prepared myself how to control & overcome things without stress.
This is both a great question before and during your interview.
Your employment relationships can be likened to any other relationship (i.e., personal/family/business, etc.) so make sure you offer an appropriate give/take balance.
Good communication is crucial. Embrace emotional intelligence and be learn to stay focused during challenges and changes. Develop yourself.
Seek out mentors. Think quality over quantity. Sometimes 1-3 outstanding mentors can make all the difference.
Own up to any mistakes immediately offering the resolution when doing so. This builds trust and respect, qualities you should strive to give/receive.
You cannot please everyone. Remember, in life 50% of the people you meet will like you; 25% of those can change their mind. The remaining 50% of people you meet will not like you (for no good reason usually) but someone can also change that mindset. Learn to read these quickly and gravitate towards the people who like you and utilize those connections to develop and sharpen yourself rather than focus on negative encounters.
Smile and be welcoming.
Concentrate on work life balance. It takes diligence and commitment.
Follow today's be well work well advice (i.e., turn off your devices, manage stress, focus on your strengths, meditate, etc.)
Good luck in your endeavors!
I have since then moved onto a # of varied roles in data Science, product Management, an entrepreneur, and a yoga teacher too!
I'd say -- if I learned one thing, always keep asking yourself if you're happy where you are, keep exploring your different areas of interest, be kind to yourself & let life surprise you. Trust in your heart and let your mind lead you to exciting places.
Being highly open and flexible helps you attract the best things in life! :)
Hi Mireira, I love your question and wish more people would ask these type of questions before starting their careers! Though many answers come to mind, to me the number one thing I wish I knew before starting my career was to have fun and travel a little before starting my full-time career.
It's important to work hard in college, work to obtain internships to gain experience, and work hard to develop your personal brand, but I wish I had taken some time to explore the world after college. You have the rest of your life to work, so don't wait until retirement to take time to get to know yourself outside of the college "bubble"!
Victoria recommends the following next steps:
Most of us get into a job looking at the future prospects or if they are passionate. As long as the prospects are good or passion stays we cannot complain. Your cannot predict your career. You have to swim with the flow trying to adjust to the needs in the best possible manner.
You will have many jobs in your career, and they may or may not be directly related to each other. It's important to remember that you don't have to get stuck in something you hate, but that you can keep working toward finding something you love doing every day. Don't ever feel like your career is a giant monolithic thing -- it's more like smaller chunks, and every year or few years you can revisit what you're doing and change direction. Pivoting is entirely acceptable, and it's a great way to find joy.
Don't let the decisions overwhelm you and remember that you're never locked into a single path. I've worked in dry cleaning, espresso making, semiconductor manufacturing and software. You can keep fine-tuning what you're doing so that you can find your joy! YOU ARE NEVER LOCKED IN TO DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW!
Remember -- this is all about you enjoying your life and finding challenges which are fun, and teams that you fit in to.
Keep learning what makes you happy, and keep striving toward doing what gives you joy!
I didn't have a plan when I got into college, nor when I graduated. I was just kind of treading water waiting for something to happen. Your guidance counselor will tell you that your college major will change 3 or 4 times before graduation, and he/she is probably right. That shouldn't stop you from making a plan. It's okay if your plan changes, but you must have a plan. It doesn't matter how many times your plan changes, as long as you are following a plan.
Regarding your plan, get as specific as possible early on. It's not enough to simply say "I want to be a developer". You should be saying "I want to work for a specific company, developing certain technology, to help solve a specific problem". The more granular you become in your plan, the quicker you'll realize if you still want to stick to that plan. If not, make a new plan.
I hope this helps you on your journey. Best of luck to you!
There is so much I learned during my first years working.
One of the biggest things I learned was that politics do matter. How people perceive your intentions can be as important as your intentions. This isn't to say everyone is out to get you because they aren't! I had many great mentors help me along the way. However, there were several times when people mistook my intentions and it took a lot of work to "win" them back. So, when you go out into the workforce (or even before) try to think of how your actions will be perceived ahead of time and make adjustments to improve the likelihood of your actions being successful.
John recommends the following next steps:
Preeti Jose Nampeli
I wish I knew the importance of certifications, I just thought a college and university degree is enough in your career. I stopped studying after university, which was a big mistake I made.
I wish I knew what is my job interest like at the moment of defining my university major. With school background it helps you better understand the field itself. But I was still undecided "child" at that moment. Anyway it is great to keep yourself educated also while working so new options new challenges and new direction makes you more perfect. ;)
But there is one more thing... I know it is very attracting to start your work career, to become independent and to drive your life from that moment but I wish I could take a few months break, relax, travel with friends after I graduated. Enjoy your free time now because once you start working you will not have that many chances anymore. Your personal time will become as the most valuable asset...
Hope this helps! Good luck in your career!
Importance of coding. Yes, I didn't know the importance of programming and coding until I started preparing for a job switch. Everywhere companies are expecting engineers to have coding experience and I must say they are not wrong.
Automation is the need of the hour. Manual work is slow and full of erorrs(pun intended). You need to have programming knowledge to automate tests. Agile work flow necessitates us to deliver a change as quickly as possible. What was earlier expected in weeks is now being delivered in hours thanks to devOps. Every stage of such a system has to be automated to achieve continuous integration and delivery. So there remains no scope for an engineer who doesn't know how to write efficient codes.
(Of course software developers also need to know programming by default)
Vipul recommends the following next steps:
I wish I had known that it's ok to start in one career and make changes along the way. I started my career in public accounting and after thinking about what I like most about my job it led me to switch into a human resources role at the same company. You never know where your career will take you, so don't be afraid to make changes and say yes to various opportunities along the way.
Also, how important networking and building a strong brand for yourself is.
I wish I knew how to ask the right questions when interviewing for a company. Make sure to ask all the questions you want to know while interviewing. Be very curious and if something doesn't sound right, follow your gut. Make sure everything you say in an interview is positioning yourself in a positive light.
1. Understanding all of the career options available
2. Understanding how important the building blocks (steps) are to your career in the long term
3. Exploring your interests because the learning will never stop, and don't worry too much about where you start
4. Do NOT expect to be a superstar on Day 1, everyone learns through experience
- It's okay to ask questions
- It's okay to make mistakes, but learn from them
- You can learn something from every situation (bad/good)
- It's important to build your support team/network
Sandi recommends the following next steps:
I wish I knew the importance of asking questions. Often times, when people start a new role, they try and stay in the background and blend in, however, that is the optimal time to ask questions in order to better understand what you should be doing.
One of the most important things I have learnt is that the pursuit of knowledge is a life-long activity. As a TAC engineer working at Cisco, we work with cutting edge technologies which define the market. Often, it feels like as soon as we have mastered a new technology, we fall back to riding the tail-end of whatever new technology is trending; which is frustrating for someone looking to gain expertise through their work.
This attitude of wanting to know how everything works was shaped by my experience at university, where much of the focus was placed on fact-gathering; something I brought with me when I started at Cisco.
In the current job market, it is important to adopt a mindset which fosters lifelong learning. Focus on gaining expertise in a single discipline, but continue to learn horizontally across different sectors. There are many new, emerging fields which necessitate a union of career paths, such as Fintech (requiring knowledge of finance and data science), so having a growth mindset is essential.
As you continue through life, don't forget to take a look at the world around you through a different lens. To truly appreciate your purpose in your chosen career, it is important to understand how systems work at a higher level so you can see how you fit in, and articulate that to others who are unfamiliar with your discipline.
Don't bask in the glory of past success. Personal achievement is something to be celebrated and recognized, but it should be viewed as a stepping stone for your continued personal growth. As you gain seniority through your career, it is important to continue to ask questions, even those which may be perceived as ignorant in respect to your current standing in the workplace.
There is no substitute for hard work. There are many people who will be far more talented than you, and there are times where you may suffer from inferiority complex, but if you are passionate and hungry to learn, you will be unstoppable.
Amrita recommends the following next steps:
Well I just started my job in the last month or so, and there are a couple things that I wish I knew before starting, but I think the most important is how important your friends and family will be as you transition into working life. Transitioning into being a real adult and working full time, is a big adjustment from college. I went from living on campus surrounded by friends to living in an apartment alone. I realized quickly that I needed my friends and family to keep me grounded more than anything. Whether it is a phone call home, dinner with an old friend, or yoga class with some buddies, these are the things that have supported me and helped me the most while starting my job. So that was kind of long winded, but I guess my advice is to keep in touch with your friends and family and make sure to make time for them in your life! I hope this helps and good luck with everything!
I wish I asked this question when I started by career and received the guidance. Over the years I have learnt:
- Most of us get intimidated when we are in a large group; not everyone is an ace in public speaking. There's always a fear; how will I be judged. This sometimes leaves us with situation where we get the half-baked information or no clarity at all. I have learnt, no matter what, if there is a doubt, never ever hesitate to ask a question. There maybe someone else in the room who has the similar concern and your question helps to get more details.
- Learn to say NO. We tend to go over and beyond when trying to please others and doing this, we end up taking more stuff in our plate than we can manage. Understand your capacity/ bandwidth first before accepting anything new. Saying NO will not get you a negative feedback; it is always better than not being able to deliver.