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14 Lessons You'll Never Forget From Your Very First Job

There's nothing like a first job to jolt you into adulthood! Discover can ease the transition and help you stay on top of your credit by providing your FICO® Score, a score that 90% of top lenders use, for free. *See Credit Scorecard info.

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1. Carry a pen and notebook everywhere. You never know when you’ll need to jot something down.

Being a newbie means that you're constantly taking in new information on the job. Being attached to your pen and notebook will help you keep track of everything.
Marco Arment (CC BY 2.0) Flickr: marcoarment

Being a newbie means that you're constantly taking in new information on the job. Being attached to your pen and notebook will help you keep track of everything.

2. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Dressing professionally can do wonders for your career. Not only do you have to act the part, but it's also important to look the part.
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Dressing professionally can do wonders for your career. Not only do you have to act the part, but it's also important to look the part.

3. Never, ever be afraid to ask for help.

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You're not expected to know everything! Don't hesitate to ask a friendly colleague when you have a burning question about something.

4. Always be on time, even when others aren’t.

Sure, others might show up five minutes late for their shift or a meeting, but that doesn't mean you should follow suit. Try to set the precedent to be on time.
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Sure, others might show up five minutes late for their shift or a meeting, but that doesn't mean you should follow suit. Try to set the precedent to be on time.

5. Don’t procrastinate with the intention of working late — you risk losing all your steam.

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If you have the time, don't put things off until later on. Procrastinating is a dangerous game!

6. Steer clear of workplace gossip.

Gossip is toxic, especially within insular workplaces. Avoid participating in it at all costs. You're above that!
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Gossip is toxic, especially within insular workplaces. Avoid participating in it at all costs. You're above that!

7. Body language is everything.

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The way you carry yourself has a big impact on your confidence level. Be aware of your posture and general demeanor — you'll command more respect.

8. Make being detail-oriented a priority.

Don't hand anything messy or haphazard to a customer, proofread every email you send, and don't submit a project without confirming you've incorporated every necessary part. Being thorough always wins respect.
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Don't hand anything messy or haphazard to a customer, proofread every email you send, and don't submit a project without confirming you've incorporated every necessary part. Being thorough always wins respect.

9. Building experience is the first step toward finding your dream job.

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Does talking in meetings make you insanely nervous? The more you step up and open your mouth, the more confident you'll become — and confidence will fuel your career passions moving forward.

10. Never approach your boss with a problem unless you've thought of a potential solution.

It's OK to bring up issues with your boss, but they'll respect you infinitely more if you also pose a way that the issue could be solved. Even if it's not the right one, you'll avoid coming across as a complainer, which nobody likes!
Martin Barraud / Getty Images

It's OK to bring up issues with your boss, but they'll respect you infinitely more if you also pose a way that the issue could be solved. Even if it's not the right one, you'll avoid coming across as a complainer, which nobody likes!

11. No matter how busy you are, ALWAYS make time to socialize with your superiors.

If they don't suggest lunch or coffee, you should! You have tons to learn from someone with more experience than you. You might just win yourself a new mentor.
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If they don't suggest lunch or coffee, you should! You have tons to learn from someone with more experience than you. You might just win yourself a new mentor.

12. Take ownership of your mistakes.

Getting defensive and denying something you did wrong — or worse, blaming it on someone else — is not going to wipe the slate clean. In fact, you could end up getting in much bigger trouble down the road. Admit you messed up — everyone does!
Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Getting defensive and denying something you did wrong — or worse, blaming it on someone else — is not going to wipe the slate clean. In fact, you could end up getting in much bigger trouble down the road. Admit you messed up — everyone does!

13. When in doubt, approach someone in person to talk things out.

If you're dealing with something complex or sensitive, you don't want to risk messages getting misconstrued over phone or email. Plus, you'll save yourself a lot of time with a face-to-face convo.
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If you're dealing with something complex or sensitive, you don't want to risk messages getting misconstrued over phone or email. Plus, you'll save yourself a lot of time with a face-to-face convo.

14. And be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for every achievement, no matter how small.

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You may not always get recognition from others, so be your own cheerleader! Having a career is no easy feat, and you're rocking yours. 👍

Another key lesson from your first job? Stay on top of your credit! Turn to Discover to get your FICO® Score, a score that 90% of top lenders use, for free, even if you're not a customer. *See Credit Scorecard info.