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First Job: From Student of the Year to Employee of the Month

First Job: From Student of the Year to Employee of the Month

If you’ve just landed a great job and college life still leaves you nostalgic, it’s possible you’ll continue with your old protected ways even in this radically different setting. If you have been awarded Student of the Year over and over – a brilliant student, an academic achiever, the first year at the workplace might prove to be an eye-opener. Validation as a great worker is a great feeling. But you’ll realise you’re competing in a very different set of situations and of people. And being awarded Employee of the Month, or even Employee of the Year may become your new goal. Perhaps there is a trophy, or a company-wide email circulated, or even a monetary reward!

To continue being the winner in this new avatar, you needn’t change, but adapt. Make this period all about personal transformation and improve your chances for long-term success.


Whether in the formal setting of a bank, or the cool work culture of an ad agency, as a newbie, you may take friendly behavior for granted. At college, you may have been used to withdrawing or staying away from those you didn’t like. When it comes to the work space, that may not be a choice. Interacting with a variety of people is a compulsion and treating everyone with respect is the first rule – respect in terms of punctuality, polite communication, and of course, hygiene and appearance. If you give respect independent of age, experience or qualification, and are mindful of privacy and boundaries, you will take the first step towards a winning attitude and long-term success.


There’s no substitute for hard work, everyone will tell you. But in your first job, how much is good enough? There’s no defined course and every question in your professional exam will seem “outside the syllabus”. The best course to take is to check with seniors or immediate superior to stay on the right path. Your HR may also be able to help or point you to the right person. Keep in mind your employer’s goals and align your actions and output with them and you’ll be on your way to winning your very first coveted accolade of Employee of the Month very soon.


Whether with peers, bosses, clients, or vendors, communication is key to your career. At the work place, keep teammates and bosses informed about your progress or when you hit a dead-end. Sometimes it is not enough to do your work well, but also show and tell to earn your reward.


At work, your contribution will be acknowledged, and the lack thereof will be observed and noted. Ask if you don’t know how, but actively contribute to team tasks meaningfully and ensure that your work is reported to be acknowledged.


Bunking classes at university may not have come with much burden except a red flag in attendance. Perhaps you were still allowed to take your exams, and at most begged a classmate for notes. Maybe full attendance was rewarded too. In today’s competitive work environment, showing up at work every single day is non-negotiable. But unlike college, no one will put “full attendance” on your contract, nor reward you for it. If you keep a weak disposition, work on your fitness with a gym or sport, and your mental well-being. This will make sure you know what’s happening in your projects and you’ll be on top of things – a clear sign you’re in for the win.


At college or university, you were still learning how problems are solved – or that they even occur at so many unexpected turns. A solution-led approach to work is important in today’s dynamic world. Observe those who always come up with great ideas and solve issues and learn to be intuitive and become a problem-solver. Your big promotion is literally around the corner if you’re seen as someone who eliminates hurdles rather than being one!

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