5 - Things you didn’t know before starting the job
To help new workers find jobs, this is the second in a three part series, on ensuring you're ready for the roles you're applying to. In part two, we’ll introduce five things you might not have known before entering the workforce.
School can prepare you for a lot, a university or college education can teach you how to learn, how to structure your thoughts and how to grow as a person. I replied to a question last week about the value of education over work experience and I wanted to expand on what might surprise someone entering the labour market.
1. Excel can be your best friend or your worst enemy
Depending on the field of study you chose you might already know this; spread sheets rule the world. Not only do these linear mathematical juggernauts help you make attractive graphs, they let you store vast quantities of data and make it manageable. If you confident in your skills using Excel, or have no skills using it whatsoever, consider following some tutorials online, or taking a course at a local college. Your local municipality may even have free basic skills courses through employment services.
2. People still use fax machines
Faxes are twentieth century technology that has wormed its way into the twenty-first. If you haven’t used a fax, learning how doesn’t take that long. They have limited memory capacity and feeding pages into them can take a great deal of time and patience. However, if the Internet is out and you need to send a proposal to a government your fax machine will still work (and yes many governments still require proposals and contract to be faxed in, or mailed as a hardcopy).
3. Time zones matter
Mountain, Pacific, Eastern, oh my! Depending on where you live you might be waking up two to three hours later than everyone else. That means if you live in Vancouver, and you’re getting up and going to work by 9 a.m. your colleagues in Toronto, Ontario will be on their lunch break. This sounds simple, but being conscious of the time constraints and realities in a global, or national company can make or break important projects.
4. Change is good, don’t fight it
If your department or employer has planned a major change a great deal of thought and planning (may be for years) has been undertaken. Change can be a scary thing, but standing in its way at all can bulldoze your young career. When you’re involved in the planning stages of major changes and you have all of the information required available to you, what might have seemed arbitrary or onerous to you previously will seem sound and efficient.
5. Packing a lunch saves you thousands of dollars
Brown bagging can save you $40 a week. Yes, making food takes time and you have to clean up after you make said food, but what comes out of your kitchen will be healthier and cost you less. If you’re eating out at lunch every day, five days a week, for a year it will cost you $2,600. Brown bagging can pay for a down payment on a condo after a few years.
What have you learned by getting into the workforce? Share your experiences with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.