Hello SOTGC community,
It’s 8:32 a.m.
I was supposed to be inside at 9:00 a.m. so I sat in my red sports coupe combing through my hair with my fingers. I did a quick mirror check to make sure that I didn’t have food in my teeth and took a deep breath as I anxiously watched people walk into the building every minute or so. I studied their clothes, watched how they walked, and wondered what they did. Maybe I’ll work with them. What if they are someone really important? Gosh, these are a lot of people, what if I can’t remember anyone’s name? Should I walk in at 8:50? It will probably take me 12 seconds to walk into the door so I guess 8:50 makes me early. These thoughts all raced into my mind as I waited for the perfect time to walk into the building.
I was too excited and couldn’t contain myself any longer. I’m just going to go in. I’m sure there are a lot of things for me to learn and do AND maybe I’ll get bonus points for being early. I got out of my car, marched confidently up to the glass door and swung the door open. Smack! Right into my face. “Oh my gosh! Are you alright?” the receptionist asked. I quickly squeaked, “Yes! It’s my first day!” not wanting to make a big deal out of it. As I waited for someone from HR to greet me, I chatted with the receptionist asking questions about the organization and the culture; I was so eager to meet people and start building relationships. The receptionist handed me my name sticker just as an HR rep appeared in the lobby. I quickly slapped the sticker on so that I could shake her hand. “I think you put the sticker in your hair,” she grinned. I smiled cheerfully and followed her into the building as I tried to slyly pull the sticker out of my hair and restick it onto my blouse. You see, it was my first day on the job and not even a door in the face or a sticker in the hair could stop me. In fact, nothing could stop me from having the best first day ever!
After more than three years of waking up, coming into work, and doing the same thing, I can understand why people get complacent in their jobs. The first day excitements are long gone and more work and bigger obstacles are waiting for you on the other side of those glass doors. But, I wasn’t ready for a career of dull days so I asked myself how do I have first day excitements everyday?
Looking back on my first day, I can recall getting excited about meeting new people. As I walked through the building, I smiled and said “Hi!” to everyone (literally everyone) while introducing myself and taking mental notes of everyone’s name. Now, instead of getting excited to know colleagues’ names (like on my first day), I am excited about getting to know them. I ask about weekend plans or hobbies, I remember their kids’ names, and I have built relationships with people at work. Nobody says you have to hang out with your colleagues out side of work, but really get to know them. You’ll find that many of them are “cooler” than you think and building a good relationship with them can be beneficial for your network.
My first day was also exciting because there were no problems or obstacles that I knew of. I was going to walk into the building and everything was going to be perfect. Obviously I was a bit naïve because companies don’t usually hire when things are perfect, they hire because they aren’t and need resources. Even after three years, I have huge mountains to move, and I can’t exactly turn a blind eye to the problems that are there. However, I can overcome the obstacles that stand in my way in small bites. If my goal is to take a bite each day, then every morning that I go into work, I can be excited that, that “bite” no longer stands in my way.
The excitement from my first day also stemmed from a desire to learn and bring something new to the table. Now that I know how to do my job, I can still keep it exciting by making improvements and by continuously developing. There are so many ways I could have fulfilled this desire to learn and feel valuable; so here is what I did. To keep bringing new ideas to the business, I made some efficiency changes. An example was to make templates for forms or letters that had to be written on a daily basis. This saved time because I could open the template instead of trying to rewrite it or look for an old email as a reference. Each day that I go into work, I think about what improvements I can make; it gives me a competitive edge, and the improvements usually save me time. With my extra time, I invested in learning. I decided to get mentored, get coached, and start an employee resource group that would develop specific skills that were important to me. I find ways to learn from every project, situation, and day that I work. My learning could be as small as asking a more experienced colleague their perspective to taking on a big project and gaining experience. Through this, I could keep learning outside of my job and can still bring new ideas to the table.
My job is filled with daily routines that could bore the heck out of me if I let it. However, I have kept the mentality of waking up as excited about the day as if it were my first day all over again. Although I can’t recreate the exact things I was excited about, I can still find things that are similar. Remember, nothing can ruin your first day!
My first day excitements are probably different than yours. If this blog motivates you to change how you view your work day, share this link and try this: Write down three things that you were excited about on your first day and brainstorm on how you can recreate those moments each day.