How to Prepare for an Office Environment
My first co-op experience was also my first office experience. I had no idea what to expect and was so excited but nervous too. Here are some things I wish I had known that may help you before your first office job!
1. Don’t put too many expectations on the experience.
I know many of us probably put expectations on just about everything. I know I came in thinking “I am going to pick this up quickly”, “I will probably be able to do everything by myself within a couple of weeks.” This, of course, was not the case, and that is not a bad thing.
Adjusting to a new environment and type of work is not always easy and it is ok to take your time in order to situate yourself and feel comfortable in your new role.
2. You WILL learn as you go.
It may feel overwhelming at first, learning a new type of work style, the expectations, policies, necessary knowledge for the position and so on.
I was a bit overwhelmed for the first few weeks and thought I may be in over my head. As I went along, however, I slowly realized that each task got a bit easier.
Figuring out how to answer an email without knowing the answer right away started becoming an exciting hunt for information, and speaking to groups of prospective students about UVic went from nerve-wracking and mind-blanking to opportunities to meet and help future students.
3. A notebook and post-it notes can be your new best friends.
Take notes! Takes notes on everything from the information you are handling in your job to office expectations.
My office wall is filled with post-its of my most often used pieces of information. It will make your life easier and you will gain more and more tips and knowledge as you go.
4. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
This is probably the most important tip. You are most likely not expected to know everything off the bat. Asking questions can save you from stress and from making unnecessary mistakes. If you are unsure, ask your supervisor or an available coworker. They are a great resource and, yes, do want you to do well.
Overall, enjoy this amazing opportunity to see what your future could look like, and have fun!