Survival kit: 6 things I would tell my younger self
Updated: Nov 17, 2018
1. Go to sleep earlier
For the majority of my university life I was a night owl, which often meant I would more regularly than not be studying late at night and sleeping in until the mid-morning. However since starting work I have gradually (very gradually) become accustomed to sleeping much earlier and also waking up earlier in the mornings.
2. Work-life balance
This is another thing that I am gradually improving with time. Due to my heavy course load whilst I was at university, there wasn't much distinction between weekdays and the weekend. Because if work needed to be completed for lectures or labs, then it needed to be done whether it was a Sunday or a Monday. As a young person just starting out my career with lots of ambition and no real commitments, it was initially very easy to get into the habit of starting work at 9am and staying way beyond 5pm. This is still a work in progress (I often need to be flexible depending on the season), but with time and a bit more organisation I have been able to find more balance which has allowed me to really make the most of my evenings and weekends.
3. Finish your exams
Completing any professional qualification is hard, but doing so while working full-time is a whole new challenge no matter the qualification. Starting them or if you're extremely organised (more so than me) completing them early can be rewarding and beneficial in the long run for your career, as it means that you are likely to have the solid foundations for your day to day role and beyond. You will more importantly be adding value to yourself.
4. Not everyone will be your best friend, but that's ok
If you're like me and you've grown up getting along with nearly everyone you meet, it can be difficult entering the professional world where there are so many different personalities. This multitude of personalities means that you may find that you naturally develop a closer relationship with some people over others.
5. Don't be afraid to talk out loud
For the past year I have been working in an open plan office and it was at first one of the most challenging parts of the roles, particularly when speaking on the phone. Despite having a rather quiet tone, it really did feel like the whole office could hear me at times. I initially felt extremely nervous, especially when recipients struggled to hear. Though, over time and with plenty of practice the nerves and low tone are well and truly behind me.
6. Manage your own career
If you are fortunate enough to get onto an internship or graduate programme and there is an area of the business that you want to experience, communicate that desire to your manager so that they are aware. No cares more about your personal development than you. Fact!