Why your ‘firsts’ in life matter

MANILA, Philippines – Some people say that you’ll never forget your set of "firsts:" your first kiss, first love, first date, first paycheck, or first job.

Just like a first date, your first job is one experience you will always remember. You put on your best outfit, make sure you’ll to play it "cool," and stay calm to make a good first impression. Armed with enough information, you keep the conversation going between you and your date – or your interviewer – to prove that you’re a good fit for her or the company.

Whether or not you get it right on your first try, it’s not the end of the world. You keep on looking until you get the right one that’s meant for you. Every time you go on succeeding dates or job interviews, there’s now always something to look forward to.

When you face your first job interview, start your first day of work, or open a new business, there may be mistakes you just wish you could just forget. Just think of these moments as learning experiences. Challenges will always be there, just as well as achievements or victory laps around the office if you’re the type who would actually do that. (READ: Let’s talk about #FirstJobProblems)

First job, countless lessons

Entering the workforce can be tricky. Some may get their first job without a sweat, but most have to worry about not having a fixed allowance anymore, stressing over repeating professional-looking #OOTDs, and most of all, the facing the daunting job interview.

When Paolo Hilario of Lay Bare Waxing Salon was applying for his first full-time job, he did not get accepted until his 5th interview. He says persistence led him to his first employer, a major bank. 

At that time, Paolo was a newlywed and his eldest daughter was only 5 months old. He adds, “My mindset was to take on any job I get, do my best to excel, and make the most of my opportunity.” He continued to work as a banker for 7 years before he shifted his focus on growing Lay Bare with his sisters, Fiona and Monique.

Paolo is currently Lay Bare's business development and information systems management lead. He values creating relationships with customers using the Internet, especially now that they’re continuously expanding to reach more and more customers everyday.

For some people, perseverance at work is just like looking for true love: it means never giving up until you find “the one.”

Although Angelica Ortega has just been part of the workforce for a few years, she has already experienced working in 3 different companies, in varying positions that required multiple interviews and exams.

“My first job was as a management trainee for DTSI (Diversified Technology Services International, Inc.). I didn’t apply for the job but received a call from their HR officer who discussed to me about the new MT program for fresh graduates,” she says.

One thing she learned from her first job in the corporate world is to always ask questions. “I learned that by asking questions you don’t only improve your understanding and knowledge but you commit less mistakes. Also, experience is the best teacher,” Angelica says.

Today, she is a business development manager for International Enterprise Singapore.

Just like in the corporate world and owning your own business, working in non-government organizations also has its fair share of challenges.

Jean Enriquez, current executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific, was always on the path of working for NGOs.

Jean’s first job was with a non-governmental organization, BAYAN, when she was around 17 years old. She wrote articles and prepared newsletters for BAYAN’s network of friends and supporters in the international community. It was a short stint, because she went back to the university after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, but on the job, she learned the value of asking questions and being willing to do any task no matter how simple.

She recalls, “It was important for me to learn to honor what others would call menial jobs such as putting the newsletters in envelopes, writing down addresses in each and mailing them.”

Jean also enumerates all the important things that first time jobbers should remember such as keeping harmonious relationships with co-workers, having the humility to listen, practicing good work ethics, being responsible and punctual (especially with deadlines), and learning not to take suggestions as mere criticism. 

What you can do now

Whether you’re a fresh graduate ready to conquer the corporate world or simply have your mind set on starting your own business, you will find your own time when you can finally say, “I’ve got this” or “This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life” with conviction.  

Keep your head up and take it one day and one step at a time. Jean shares this piece of advice: “Choose a job where you think you will commit yourself, because its nature fits your passion. Commit to a job because you believe in its leadership, too. If you embrace the organization as your own, everything else above will follow.”

When days get tough at work, Paolo remembers how it was back when he was starting out. “I always focused on the job at hand and reminded myself that everything worth doing is worth doing well,” he says.

Advice from experienced professionals can motivate you, but you still have to make the first step. Use technology to stay updated on the latest trends, inspire you to think out of the box and see what competition is out there. Invest in resources, like a good Internet connection and gadgets, so you can help yourself do more.

You can also send out your resumes to multiple companies with just a click of a button, research on more companies both here and abroad, take online classes or courses to further develop your skills or use social media as the core of your new business.

In the real world it will be difficult, but most definitely worth it. Do you have any #FirstJobProblems to share? Tell us in the comments section below. – Rappler.com

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