It’s hard to believe I’ve been a real, live, working professional for 8 months already. As I begin my second semester of work, I’ve been reflecting on how much has changed from when I started my journey. Here are the three biggest lessons I learned in my first semester.
Own what you know
When I started in my current position last May, I would get a knot in my stomach when people would say things like, “You’re the expert, what do you think?” As a new grad, it’s been difficult to think of myself as an “expert” at anything, but I’ve learned that it’s so important to own your expertise. Being able to develop the creative strategy of the social media accounts that I run and get recognized for my work has empowered me, and made me a more confident professional. I encourage you to use the power you have as a new professional (even if it’s just a little bit) to empower you, rather than intimidate you.
The sky is not falling
I used to panic if I was going to be five minutes late. Or if literally anything work-related went slightly wrong. It’s hard to let go of perfectionism when you’re in a new position and trying to start on the right foot. Forgetting to send an email or double booking yourself for two meetings isn’t the end of the world. My first semester has definitely helped me learn to accept that things can and will go wrong. To quote a very wise career professional, “Bad things happen and bad things end, 100% of the time.”
You can’t pour from an empty cup
I had two days between graduation and my first day of work, so I was still in full-on grad school mode when I started. I was used to a life that had been consumed by a single focus (school), working all day, and stressing out about everything – habits that stayed with me in my new position. My job is a big part of my life, but it’s just one part. I’ve learned how important taking care of yourself (not just in theory, but in practice) is for your work life. The more I disconnect from my job outside of work and do things for myself, the better I am in the office. A few things that helped me tremendously:
- Working out
- Planning trips and using my vacation time (even just a long weekend somewhere local)
- Reading books that have nothing to do with my job
- Getting enough sleep
- Binge-watching How To Get Away With Murder and This Is Us
I’m looking forward to another semester of growth and learning. My advice to other new (or soon to be new) #SApros out there: remember that your work is always a work in progress. There’s a reason we’ve been writing drafts our whole lives – no one gets it perfect the first time around.
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Aracelis, Emalie, Felicia, and Patrick, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.