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The Financial Diet blog:
http://www.thefinancialdiet.com

3 Crucial Pieces Of Career Advice I Wish I Hadn’t Ignored In My Early 20s: http://thefinancialdiet.com/3-crucial-pieces-of-career-advice-i-wish-i-hadnt-ignored-in-my-early-20s/

10 Important Questions To Consider When Choosing A Career Path: http://thefinancialdiet.com/10-important-questions-to-consider-when-choosing-a-career-path/

How To Ask For Career Help Without Being Annoying: http://thefinancialdiet.com/how-to-ask-for-career-help-without-being-annoying/

8 Things You Need To Know When Asking For A Raise: http://thefinancialdiet.com/8-things-you-need-to-know-when-asking-for-a-raise/

11 Things You Can’t Be Afraid Of (If You Want To Follow Your Career Dreams): http://thefinancialdiet.com/11-things-you-cant-be-afraid-of-if-you-want-to-follow-your-career-dreams/

6 Signs You’ve Found Your Career (Instead Of Just Another Job): http://thefinancialdiet.com/6-signs-youve-found-your-career-instead-of-just-another-job/

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Chelsea: Hi, I'm Chelsea.

Lauren: And I'm Lauren.

C: And we are:

Both: The Financial Diet.

C: And today, Lauren and I are gonna be talking about something that's a huge, huge step in any professional adult life and that's your first "career job." Now, this can be in any field, and it doesn't have to be post-grad. Lord knows I didn't graduate college. But what matters is that it sets you on the path that you want to be taking for your career.

L: Mhmm. And landing it kinda feels like you made it in some way.

C: Now, for a lot of people, this is often the coveted, "nine to five" that puts you in an office with, you know, a work space, salary, benefits, even paid vacation time. And that last one will probably feel the most crazy if you're used to having to choose between staying home with the flu and earning money.

L: Right. And sometimes those first stressful years of any job feels like it gets a really bad rep. But really, it's the perfect learning ground for you to learn the ropes of a new industry, to make mistakes, and really get a sense of what it is that you want to do and how you work best.

C: So I was hired out of school as a staff writer at a popular website, which is a job that I didn't even know existed, let alone paid a salary until I actually got it. And for that first year, I was really just obsessed with learning how to write an article well, and learning how to help a website make money.

L: And my first job out of school was as a junior art director at an advertising company. And it was in that role that I felt really comfortable asking a lot of questions, like A LOT of questions. But, I knew that it was really important to milk that time in my career where I saw myself as an apprentice. Really hands-off on a lot of projects because they're mostly handled by the senior ADs and the creative directors. So, I really asked a lot of questions about process and technical issues, and that really set me apart and reflected favorably on me because people perceived me as eager, curious, and really passionate about my work.

C: Now in both of these cases, and in most entry-level jobs, this is really your first and only opportunity to have a totally clean slate in terms of work habits and professional reputation. And that's why in your first year, it's more important than ever to really focus on creating good work habits and really going above and beyond in whatever tasks you get because this reputation that you set now will be the one that starts you in your entire career.

L: One of the most important aspects of any career job is finding mentors and older working professionals that you can go to for assistance and advice. When I first started, I was paired up with the senior art director named Jess, and she became one of the best influences on me and, like, go-to resource that I really trusted.

C: And one of my great friends today is actually a former colleague who really helped me when I first came into the job to kind of show me the ropes and be someone that I could go to for trusted advice and to ask questions that I thought were probably dumb. The best thing you can do in your first year is to really find that person who not only can be of help to you but can also really show you how they did it when they were in your position. And generally, that person should not be in direct competition with you.

L: It's really important that you find someone who you feel has your best interests at heart and that you don't feel competitive with, like Chelsea said. For me, it was really helpful to find someone a couple of years older than me, so they didn't feel like a peer. You want to find people who's current trajectories you really admire and that you can trust to give you honest feedback, they're always there for you to bounce ideas off of and really help you get your best work done.

C: And for those people, and other people in your company that you might admire, you really should do your best to emulate their good work habits and professional skills that you see them using.

L: For example it's really important to learn the basics of crafting a professional sounding email, to practise your follow-up with clients and fellow coworkers, and to really practise having a balanced calendar that's really organized.

C: And it sounds small but things like the right amount of exclamation points to use in a professional email or how to actually use Google Calendar are huge to how you operate on a day to day basis in your career. And for me, for example, I pretty much stole wholesale the email style and sign off and all of that stuff from my old boss, as well as some client interaction techniques, and there's no shame in that.

L: And if you're curious as to how someone stays so organized, seriously just ask. I mean, those Type A personalities are always really into, like, divulging their secrets and talking about their organizational skills. I mean, they love that shit.

C: They love it. It's also important to look at your first year as kind of a trial period for your own passions. Now obviously you always have to work hard and try your best at whatever job you're in but it's also important that you think in terms of, like, "OK, maybe the first job/department that I landed in isn't where I'm best or what I love the most" so you should really focus on trying to take on the work that interests you, and the way to do that is really just to ask. For example, in my second year at the job I started specifically asking to work on sponsored content projects because I was really interested by it, and actually by the time I ended up leaving I was heading up that department as creative director.

L: Tss!

C: And I was really able to kind of figure that out and move toward it because I wasn't yet stuck in a set of skills and positions that really limited me.

L: Your first career job should be a place where you throw up big idea, push boundaries, and take a couple of risks if you can, while being responsible. This is a point in your career where you'll have very little to lose because you're so low on the food chain.

C: And your first career job is also the perfect time to really start setting up good financial habits and figuring out how you're going to handle that salary that's so new to you. So this is the time to sit down with a trusted financial advisor, whether that's, you know, a professional or even someone in your own family, and really establish how you're going to make your money work. And the most important thing you can probably do is to set up that automatic transfer every month out of your salary, before the first check even hits, so that you can start making your savings without ever getting used to seeing more money in your account, because if you see it, it's gonna hurt to get rid of it.

L: We've written about maximizing your career in the first years and beyond and the links to those articles are in the description below.

C: So thanks for watching and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to go to thefinancialdiet.com for more.

Both: Bye.