This blog post is for my friends who recently graduated and now joined their first job.
You have now joined a company and started working. Your responsibilities have now changed. You are now an earning member of your family. The habits that you develop in this first year will determine your future (in your career, in your earnings, etc). So what are the first things you need to do ??
Given below is a partial list of things that you need to do immediately or start doing regularly.
- Buy a medical insurance.
You will already be covered in your company's medical insurance or you may be covered in your parent's medical insurance. If you are covered in parents medical insurance, that cover may now be over. Also it is unlikely that you will stay in the same job. If you change that job, start freelancing, may be between the jobs then you may NOT have medical insurance cover during that period. As you become older, it will be more difficult to get medical insurance. So Buy a Medical Insurance on your own. See if you can get 'family insurance' plan. Add your parents to this insurance.
- Start Investing and building your Financial Portfolio
Don't spend all your salary on parties and malls. Learn the basics of investing in Mutual Funds, Shares and other financial 'instruments'. Few years later when you want to buy a house, get married, go to honeymoon, do it with your own money. Don't depend on your parents.
- At bare minimum start creating Fixed or Recurring Deposits in your bank account.
- All investment companies like ICICI Direct has short courses that introduce you to basics of investing. Attend those courses.
- Register for SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) for Mutual Funds/Shares. SIPs will allow you to start investing in small amounts but regularly.
- Buy Books. Don't depend on company or other libraries. You must create your own library of favourite books and books critical for your work. For example, if you are in a programmer you must have your copy of 'Code Complete2'
- Join online courses like Coursera, EdX, Udacity. Pay for those certificates
- Attend conferences.
- Join Professional Associations like ACM, Computer Society of India, Stepin Forum and meet-ups
Good communication skills are critical for your career advancement. One of my mentors gave me a critical advice at the start of my career. He said
"Nitin, what you know is important. But who knows what you know is EQUALLY important""Who knows what you know" gives you opportunities. For that to happen you must be able to clearly articulate your thoughts and ideas.
- Practice to write good professional emails and documents. Don't write 'bcos, yo, etc' (i.e.typical sms/whatsapp slang) in your official mails, mails to your boss or colleagues.
- Practice to speak fluently in your mother tongue and in English. Consciously avoid saying 'You know' or 'ya' in every sentence.
- Join organization like Toast Masters where you are practice your presentation skills
You will find some a**holes in every organization. You have to learn to deal with these on your own. Your parents, brothers/sisters etc are not going to help you now. You will encounter 'passive aggressive bosses', 'vining co-workers', people trying to emotionally blackmail you for various reasons/agendas.
- Read books of Prof. Bob Sutton (No Asshole Rule, The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt )
- Learn some meditation. You can do it on your own. You don't have to attend some fancy/expensive class. Checkout Quiet Kit
- Develop your own support system - Your friends, colleagues with whom you can talk and share your problems, who can help you with suggestions and intelligence.
Your first team/Manager has a HUGE and disproportionate impact on your career. The habits you develop in your first project/team/job, stay with for life long. Make sure you develop 'Good habits'. Make sure to work in a team/manager who will help you learn and develop the good habits.
Check this comment from Prashant Kale. I fully agree with this advice
Do you feel you can reach to the expertise level of your manager/current mentor in 3-4 years? THEN you have 'bad role model'. Find out someone where you must feel "To reach to level him/her, it will take me 10 years'. When you find such person, stick with him/her. Stay continuously in touch with him. Meet him/her regularly. Get his/her advice. Discuss your problems/career choices/aspirations openly with them.
It is really really difficult to find such Gems. When you find one, make sure you don't ignore or lose them. (NOTE : I was fortunate that I found many such Gems in my initial years in Telco and In Geometric Ltd. It shaped my career. I still keep in touch with my mentors.)
If you feel your current mentor/team is not adding value to you, change the team (may be even the company).
[Update] I posted this article on LinkedIn. There are many thoughtful comments and advice posted on this article. Check the replies and suggestions on LinkedIn