What You Learned at Your First Job

Our Facebook community shares their advice.

We turned to our smart, talented community of Facebook fans—you, included!—to share the lessons you learned at your first jobs. You’re going to want to share this with every soon-to-be college grad you know.

What You Learned at Your First Job

Be respectful, but not afraid to share your ideas. Don’t let others take credit for your work, but don’t be boastful.

— Margaret Sullivan Carr

Say thank you when you’re given constructive criticism.

— Kristin Rettberg Sheehan

Always dress nicely and use your manners, even when you’re at your limit. Someone is always watching how you work under stress.

— Sam Watson

Be available when you’re needed in other departments. Never tell your boss no. Managers watch and appreciate your willingness to help.

— April DeVito Gaveau

Read and understand the company Mission Statement and then integrate that essence into all of your assignments.

— Ruth Jensen

Have humility. I was upset when one of the senior advisers asked me to clean her shelves, but I did it anyway. Years later, she told me it was a test. Some simply refused to do it, and they never made it far within this company, because they lacked humility, as she put it.

— Anna Drago

Learn, know and understand the business from the lowest position’s duties on up. Understand that nothing is beneath you, rather it is a learning opportunity to grow and become more valuable as an employee.

— Beth Hill

Ask questions to understand the whys of the job. Understanding why a process happens will help you be better in your position and connect the importance of certain tasks. Speak up to be placed on projects, no matter how little your role at first, so that you can get the experience you need to move forward—don’t wait for others to give you a chance.

— Rachel Watroba

Learn from those who have been there. See how they do their job and maybe some of their style may benefit you.

— Arlene Vacante

Listen to absolutely everyone all the time. That doesn’t mean always do what they say, but listen. If you listen to everyone from housekeeping to the CEO you will be much better able to make your OWN decisions.

— Rye Black

Go in with a positive attitude and remember you earned your way there and deserve to share your new thoughts and knowledge with those that are looking for, and embracing, new ideas!

— Dolly Deitz

I guess one of the most profound lessons was to address problems with solutions. Don’t be a complainer, but come forth with a better way!

— Sheldon Holmes

If it’s your first job, it’s all new. You don’t need to know everything, just observe, share your knowledge, enjoy the process, keep learning and grow.

— Esther Jaedi

Don’t let co-workers shape your work ethic. Who you listen to matters. A promotion begins on day one for those with a vision.

— Stella Lohmann

Although it’s important to take any job seriously, have fun with it! This might not be the career of a lifetime, but it’s a stepping stone for bigger and better things! Take it all in.

— Samantha Featherston

Images Courtesy of Ivanka Trump
Photographer: Nathan Kraxberger