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You applied, nailed the job interview, and before you know it, it will be your first day on the job. Congratulations! The fun is about to begin, but make sure you do not hinder your career with off-base expectations. Here is what not to expect from your first job:

1) A syllabus for your first day.

Remember, you are going to work, not school. If you end up with a perfectly planned first day, then consider yourself lucky. If not, do not be discouraged. Depending on your role and industry, on-boarding can be a tricky and time-consuming process. It will take months to learn your new role, so fill that extra time by researching the company, shadowing other employees, or tackling a project that no one else will.

2) A manual to tell you exactly how to succeed.

You were hired for a reason. The hiring manager felt that you could accomplish something that neither automated systems nor other employees could. If every job came with perfect instructions, we would not need human capital anymore. Your new role will require you to try new ideas, be strategic and collaborate in different ways. If you see something that needs to happen, make it happen.

3) An assistant.

Do not expect someone to be there to help you organize, plan and conduct basic tasks. This is especially true if you are entry-level. You will likely serve as your own assistant, so get familiar with the printers, copiers, location of office supplies and administrative policies.

4) Training on basic office technology.

Going to work somewhere with Microsoft Office Suite as its core platform? Better get used to it now. It is imperative to know how to utilize and manage this and other platforms. If you need help learning the basics or want to brush up on more complicated skills, check out YouTube, Lynda, or other learning sites. Many offer free and quick training. Also, research SharePoint and other intranet platforms.

5) Second, third or fourth chances.

You will absolutely be given the opportunity to learn. With that, comes some mistakes. This is all part of the normal on-boarding process. However, there are things that employers will not overlook. Being consistently late, turning in poor quality work, or making unethical decisions are a few examples. Employers do not have time to forgive and retrain, and frankly, they should not have to.

6) A checklist of expectations.

Your supervisor might give you a general idea of what expectations are around your new office, but do not expect an outline of how your supervisor likes everything. A few things you can count on in any role: timeliness, accountability, responsiveness, and professionalism. However, you also need to be proactive in understanding other expectations. How often does your supervisor want to meet? Does he or she have a preferred method of communication? What should you prioritize? Asking these questions helps your supervisor communicate his or her needs to you, but also allows you to secure a good first impression.

7) A quick promotion.

Unless otherwise discussed, do not expect a promotion right out of the gate. It takes time to move up. Employers are looking for committed, talented and strategic employees to take on more responsibility when they look at promotions. Although a year can feel like forever to a new graduate, it is the blink of an eye in many organizations. The best way to be promoted is by proving your value. Do not forget the golden rule of promotions: if you want to be in your supervisor’s role one day, then act like your supervisor. This requires you to observe your supervisor. By doing so, you will gain insight into his or her priorities, work style, and skills. Emulate that!

As you start your new career, do not forget that you are there to work. You will be working with people of all backgrounds, ages, and expectations. Hold yourself to high standards and know that you can never lose when you produce quality work in a timely manner. Be the champion of your own career, and this mindset will most certainly lead you to success.

Genevieve C
CONTRIBUTOR