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5 unwritten rules to know for a successful first job

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May and June are the months when American colleges and universities hold their graduation ceremonies. Then comes the start of the next stage of adult life, a first real job.

“Many will succeed and integrate,” says the head of human resources “Delia” of a Fortune 500 company which asked me not to identify its employer. “But over the past few years, there has been an increase in issues with new graduates. Their schools have done a bad job of teaching them the difference between school and work. Many of these new graduates fail to grasp the culture – the silent and unspoken laws – of their new workplaces, and when they fail and are fired, they rationalize it into thinking they are the victims of unlawful discrimination. or other illegal treatment by the employer. . “

Of course, who hasn’t seen commercials on TV and the internet that say, “5 You’ve probably been wrongly fired, so give us a call!”

“But in reality,” says Los Angeles-based employment lawyer Eric Kingsley, “at most, only 1 to 2% of the people who call our office, we would accept as clients. Most call because they are disgruntled. You can be fired for all kinds of reasons, which don’t necessarily have to be reasonable, but not for bad illegal reasons. Unfair doesn’t mean unfair – it means you meet some sort of test or that there is has a public policy that society wants to apply.

If you know someone who has recently graduated from college and is about to start a first job, I have the perfect gift for them. This is the key to success in the pages of a down to earth, common sense book that opens your eyes to the reality of the difference between work and school. It is Unspoken rules: the secrets to getting your career off to a good start through the Wall Street newspaper bestselling author Gorick Ng.

Ng is a guidance counselor at Harvard College and has a professional background that has given him tremendous insight into what success in the workplace means – and what will clearly lead to failure, “a failure that will be repeated often unless that you don’t understand what you haven’t understood about your role in an organization, ”he says.

“The problem is, managers are often too busy or too shy to tell you what they expect and what they really mean,” Ng observes.

He believes the road to job failure begins with failing to demonstrate the “three Cs” of competence, commitment and compatibility, and he described what this negative behavior looks like.

Here are five things employees should NOT do if they want to be successful in their new career:

Consequences: You are seen as someone who is not competent and who needs to be micromanaged at every step.

Consequences: You will be seen as unreliable and unengaged. If people can’t trust you to do the little things in a timely manner, they won’t give you bigger responsibilities. Make people wait long enough and you will be looking for a new job.

Consequences: By not keeping others informed and consulted, you are rolling the dice as to whether your ideas will be approved when they are discussed. Build allies in the room, in the team, and throughout the organization so that no one is caught off guard. The best way to get an idea accepted is to get approval before the meeting – not in the middle of the meeting.

Consequences: You may feel unfairly treated at best, and at worst, the victim of discrimination or other illegal behavior in the workplace.

As the criteria for getting a promotion are often unwritten and unwritten, it is crucial to understand how promotions are decided in your workplace. Are they based on:

  • Seniority?
  • Decided every few years in an “up or out” environment? This means that you have to be promoted within a certain time frame or look for another job. To be promoted, you typically need to be in one of the top percentiles in terms of performance and potential relative to your peers at your level.
  • Granted only when there is a vacant position?
  • Not at all granted and given only when there is a new need within the organization?

Consequences: Each work environment has its own definition of what is professional and acceptable. Go beyond this invisible zone of professionalism and you can be seen as tense. Underpass it and you might be seen as immature.

Observe your coworkers and ask them what types of behavior are acceptable and which are not. In an environment, if you don’t use, say, exclamation marks and emojis in your emails or instant messages, you’re not seen as enthusiastic or bubbly enough. In a different environment, doing the same might make you feel unprofessional and immature.

In conclusion of our interview, Ng emphasizes:

“School is about following. The work is to intensify. In the workplace, meeting deadlines is not enough. You have to go above and beyond.

Thinking back to my professional background, Ng’s book would have helped me in many ways.

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