Check Your Ego and Pay Your Dues at an Entry-Level Job
In order to move up the corporate ladder, a few things need to happen first
Entry-level life is challenging for many reasons, the greatest of which is learning to pay your dues. Nobody enters their field at the pinnacle of their goals.
I work for some very talented, demanding and successful people. As much as I’d love to jump right to the top of the ladder, I’ve learned to remind myself of these steps and to take it a step at a time.
Check Your Ego at the Door
There is zero room for ego at entry-level. It’s not that you don’t matter. You matter a lot. You are there to serve a purpose. The sooner you can get over yourself and buy into your boss’s agenda, the sooner you can start working toward yours.
Learn Something from Everything
Everything is a learning opportunity. If you’re sent out for coffee, it may seem like NBD but it’s a very BD to bring the wrong coffee to the wrong executive. Use it as an exercise in completing tasks completely. Attention to detail is important at any level and the reason it’s mentioned in every job posting.
As you progress, you encounter more experiences and information. A good employee gets by by doing their job but the greats learn from everything happening with everyone around them. Read every email, listen to conference calls and attend meetings. Knowledge is power, don’t miss out.
Ask Questions, But Ask Yourself First
There is nothing wrong with asking for help when it is truly needed, but the best employee is a self-sufficient employee. If something is immediately confusing, follow these steps:
1. Ask yourself the question you want to ask your boss.
2. Ask yourself again in 5 seconds.
3. Google it.
4. Ask whoever you have the best rapport with. This might be your boss, but if your boss is terrifying/terrifyingly busy, find a friend to help figure it out.
Which brings me to:
Figure It Out!
When you are assigned tasks, chances are your boss is totally capable of figuring them out, but they have A LOT of things to figure out.
"No," or "I don’t know" or "I can’t," should be totally erased from your vocabulary. There’s always a solution and those who are solution-oriented will be success-oriented.
The Virtues of Patience
Someone smug ever tell you “doctors have patients, I don’t”? More like doctors have paychecks. No one becomes a doctor overnight. It takes years. Not a weekend class on CPR, not a couple months of night school. Years.
To reach doctor status in your field you must be in for the long haul and work like a med student. Study your craft as if the knowledge is life or death. If you want to make big bucks making big decisions, you must work with a surgical margin of error. Learning that expertise takes patience but it is 100 percent worth it.
Hang tight entry-level soldiers. The corner office isn’t a day away, but paying your dues is the way to get there.
Monster Wants to Know: What are lessons you've learned from entry-level jobs that have helped your career? Share with us in the comment section.