Written by Guest Blogger, Isdiyanah Dulkifli
I started my first job in June 2018 as an Energy Generation Program associate, which is a graduate program at Schneider Electric Singapore. As part of my on-boarding process at Schneider Electric, I attended a tea session with my company’s country President, as well as briefings from Vice Presidents in various functions.
I thought I should note down some advice as a way to remind myself as well as my peers who are embarking on our first job; be it in management associate programs or starting out in a specific position. Together, not only will these tips guide my early development in my new job, but also I hope it will help my peers and other young talents who are starting a career journey.
1.) Be a Sponge
I think we have probably heard this reminder many times, even prior to starting our first job, but it is definitely one of the most important pieces of advice to remember. Being a sponge means we will be driven to seek and absorb new information which is extremely important in a new environment, and to learn as much as we can while on the steep learning curve as it will definitely help us adapt to the environment better.
2.) Be Curious, Be Inquisitive
As an extension to being a sponge, it is important to remain curious and be inquisitive of your current rotation and the functions around you. Being spoon fed information is great for some, but in my opinion, it is only effective to a certain point because the person sharing the information does not know what you hope to know and may only cover the general information. However, if you question and are curious, you will definitely get more out of it. Having said that, try to make links while you keep a curious mind. Try to see how other functions link with your existing ones. There is bound to be overlaps around the organisation. Find ways to improve the existing system. Don’t take the existing system as the best one but rather, consider what can else can be improved. Think about what will definitely help when considering other information.
3.) Network and Build Relationships
While we attempt to understand the organisation and the various business units, networking and building relationships is always important. Sure, we are moving towards digitization and automation and so on, but the basis of business is really on relationships.
As we learn from marketing, never underestimate the power of word of mouth, you never know when your name will be mentioned to assist or to work on another project/ opportunity. Extend your expertise or help when you can. At the same time, I feel that we shouldn’t be doing it for the sake of just simply networking but rather, we should be genuine about it. And make sure that it is not for the sole purpose of getting something out of it, but really because you care and want to know more. This helps generate empathy and build a sense of safer and inclusive spaces which allows for more engagement and personal development.
4.) Be Open, Embrace Uncertainty
At the start of my job function, there was so much uncertainty. I think the fact that I am starting in an area beyond what school has prepared me for caused me to be unsure of myself and my ability to perform in the role. Maybe what I was missing, at the start, was being open.
I told myself at the start that I needed to be open, I needed to be a sponge but it was not reflective of the mindset that I carried during work. But I am glad to have quickly realized this and have tried to modify my thinking I needed to be more open and embrace uncertainty before I could really immerse in this job. I had to accept that I was not going to know everything and that I had to make the most of this on the job training. I have had opportunities to sit in for group meetings and discussions and have noticed the workplace welcoming my ideas and being receptive with my colleagues support. Now I feel like I am starting to embrace all these uncertainties, being more secure to share and ready to take on the challenges.
5.) Patience, Patience, Patience
This advice was the one that was ringing in my head at the end of each day. We’re all eager to make a difference, eager to see a change, eager to do something and eager to find meaning in what we do, be it our first job or not. I realize that this sense of eagerness resulting in forgetting the importance of patience. Here I am doing e-learning and researching, not really seeing much or doing anything important (at least in my perspective). But this is the foundation to building a career; equipping yourself with the right information, linking up with right people in your department, so that you can learn from their expertise in areas you don’t understand.
So yes, patience is definitely key as I start on this journey. Be patient but also be eager to learn and absorb as much as possible. At the start, everything is supposed to be uncertain; it’s scary but it’s okay. And we just really need to be open about it.
Happy International Youth Day
August 12th is International Youth Day. As part of the younger generation, I have many questions, uncertainties, hopes and dreams. These five tips will not solve all the questions I have about my career, and it’s okay because I’ll keep learning, asking questions and being myself.
About the Author
Isdiyanah is part of the Energy Generation Program and is currently doing her rotation in the Safety, Environment and Real Estate department for East Asia Japan Pacific (EAJP) in Schneider Electric. She graduated from National University of Singapore with a Bachelor in Business Administration, specializing in management. In her free time, Isdiyanah enjoys trying out new things and exploring new places.
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