Fully entering the working world after finishing school is frightening because of the unknown. The first time you feel truly clueless in the workplace can be terrifying, and it makes sense to turn to your boss when you have a work question. When you do go to your boss for help, their responses can range from a specific answer to insight you can apply to your work philosophy as a whole. Both are useful, and you'll find that you might even get some of the most helpful advice when you least expect it. With that, here's the best advice from a boss that real people received.
One of the more difficult parts of the transition from a full-time student to a full-time employee is feeling secure in your first job. There is no denying that being a full-time employee is much different from being a full-time student, and you'll likely have a plenty of questions as you navigate your career. After reading the words of wisdom passed down from various higher-ups, you'll feel ready to take on any challenges that lie ahead in your work endeavors. This is what a handful of people tell Elite Daily about the best advice they got from a boss.
Kylie, 29, learned the importance of adjusting your approach toward your workload. She says, "I have always been the kind of person who has to get it all done so that I can check it off my list and move on to the next thing I need to do, but obviously projects and deadlines don't always work out like that. We were working on the front of book feature for a magazine when my boss looked over and said, 'We're at a good stopping point so let's go home.'"
That moment stuck out to Kylie, and she shares, "It was a really, really good introduction to weaving some work-life balance into my life, especially because our site was both digital and print. It's been eight years since she said that, and it's still something I work really hard to remind myself of."
Kylie says she has learned, "So long as it's not urgent, I put my stuff down and leave ... There will be other times when I can't do that, but knowing the difference is crucial. It helps me prioritize."
If you've ever felt anxious about your performance in a new job, you are not alone. Lilli, 29, says her boss told her, "It takes six months to feel comfortable in a job."
With that bit of information. Lilli shares, "I've found it to be both true and a great validation for those days in the first six months when you've convinced yourself that you're no good at your job or that you won't ever get it right. That six-month learning curve is real."
One young professional says, "Before I moved to New York City, I was commuting back and forth into Manhattan getting ready for the biggest move I’ve ever made."
Thankfully, they had some guidance as they share, "My boss (who lived in NYC), helped me through the process by giving me tips about where to live and how to budget. She helped me with my transition, and once I moved, I was able to focus more on work while I was at the office (and I wasn’t exhausted from commuting four hours every day)."
Hannah, 24, says, "I stayed in touch with a former boss after we both left the company and she wound up becoming an incredible mentor to me. About a year ago, I told her my dream job had opened up, but I didn't apply because I didn't think I had nearly enough experience or seniority to be considered seriously for it. I'll never forget the way she stared at me. She was like, 'Why not apply?'"
Motivated by that conversation, Hannah explains, "I took her advice, and shortly after, wound up with that same job title at another company. She taught me that if you want an opportunity badly enough, you just need to go for it. You shouldn't ever hold yourself back out of fear of getting rejected."
One boss told a young professional, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."
Explaining how it helped them, they say, "Of course that's an old proverb most people have heard before, but I never really thought about it in relation to my work life before."
Finally, they explain, "It made me realize that I should always think about giving thoughtful constructive responses or instructions to my colleagues and team members I manage, because it will make their work better, and in turn, benefit the company as a whole."
Jackie, 30, revealed how a boss told her to stop using "'I'm confused' as a substitute for: 'Please be more clear,' 'I disagree with you,' or 'Actually, I hate that.'"
After hearing that, Jackie says, "I didn't realize I was doing this, and I would have spent my entire career saying it had she not given me this feedback. Years later, I realize this is a trend among many of my female friends and colleagues. Women are so often conditioned to avoid ruffling feathers or state strong opinions, so we qualify and hedge and apologize, even when we are quite sure of ourselves."
Jackie shares, "Short answer: don't undermine yourself."
Joe, 26, also learned about being more confident, and says, "The best advice I ever got from a boss came when I'd told him I was leaving for another company. It amounted to something pretty simple: Leave all the fear and doubt you had here, and make your moves boldly at the next office. Plot twist: I ended up making a U-turn and not moving on, and this IDGAF attitude he emboldened quickly became his problem. He was right, it felt great."
Young professionals can make stops at many different jobs along their career paths. I've followed that trajectory since college, and my first boss told me to always keep my eyes and ears open, no matter where I am (even if it's not where I think my long-term career path is headed), because you never know what you might learn. It's important not to discount the experience of a workplace simply because it's not your dream job.
Another professional, Bridget, shared a similar piece of advice. She says, "People learn the most when they switch jobs and projects since they are surrounded with a whole new set of people and challenges. So jump around, talk to as many people as possible. You'll be a stronger asset in the end."
There's no doubt that entering the workforce is a daunting task, but you're not expected to know everything as soon as you arrive. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Bosses might seem intimidating at first, but they are there to help you — and they really do want you to learn as much as possible.