We all have passions, but more often than not, when you start off in your field of interest, your first job won’t be your dream job, and that’s okay. It’s not always about where you start, it’s about how far you get once you have your foot in the door.
I’ve always believed that if you aren’t learning something while on the job, you probably aren’t working hard enough. There are lessons to be learned from even the most mundane of tasks, you just have to be paying attention. Many people get caught in the mindset that their summer internship or entry level position isn’t a big deal, and they’re just doing what they can to make it through the day and earn the paycheck that awaits at the end of the week. This mindset is a recipe for mediocrity.
They say you shouldn’t make mountains out of molehills, but maybe sometimes you should. In a junior level position, you will often be given the grunt work to do for the team. However, it is possible to transform grunt work into something that you can learn from, and more importantly turn it into something that you’re proud of. Here are five tips to help you make the most out of every task:
- Seek knowledge. If you’re ever put on a project, take the initiative to learn what it’s about. It may seem silly, especially if you’re just working on a small piece of the puzzle (i.e. organizing or pulling data), but this is a great opportunity to dig deep. Furthermore, you’re able to contribute more when you’re well-informed.
- Never be “finished”. After you’ve completed your assigned task, always ask what else you can do to help. Being upstanding will let your superiors know that you’re interested in the work you do and that you have a strong work ethic. Remember, promotions aren’t given to those who just do the work, but to those that have the willingness and ability to go above and beyond.
- Do more. This goes hand-in-hand with never being finished. Use any available time to put more effort into the work you’re doing, even when it’s not required. Ask yourself, could this look better? Could I simplify this? Could I include more detail? Great work never goes unnoticed.
- Listen during meetings. Many times you may be sitting in on meetings where you feel that you don’t have much to contribute, and you begin to tune out. Don’t do this! Not only is it noticeable when you aren’t paying attention, but you are missing out on valuable insight. Just because you aren’t able to contribute during this conversation doesn’t mean you can’t leverage what you’ve learned during future discussions.
- Take the time to reflect on your work. No matter how big or small your role, evaluate your contributions and how you fit into the overall success of your team. This could be a major confidence-builder and can also help you identify areas that require personal development.