When it comes to starting your first job, the anxiety and stress levels are always high. We all have thoughts such as do I say ‘good morning,’ or ‘morning,’ and ‘What if I completely embarrass myself in a meeting, or worse, make a joke that is dead AF!,’ when we start a new job. 

This applies even more so to your first ever job, the one that has you wondering, whether you’re ready to be an adult yet. Which is why we’ve curated people’s experiences of their first job. Maybe reading through these will remind us that we’re not as doomed as we believe we are. Read on. 

1. My first work experience was as a freelancer. I had no idea about the money I should ask them for and was very nervous about it, lol. But it also gave me a chance to know how the industry works, and how one should never hesitate to ask for the pay they deserve.

– Anjali Awasthi

2. My first true adult job was as an HR Coordinator, in a hospitality corporate setting. I really didn’t know how to carry myself and interact with my coworkers (all of them were older and at higher levels/seniority). I was at the bottom of the hierarchy and also one of the youngest. I did all my tasks, took part in weekly meetings, participated in annual HR projects, etc. But I felt like I could only do what I was told to do. I could never come out with any independent thoughts or it would be inappropriate / wrong / foolish / offensive as an HR person.

I’m also the kind of person who keeps to myself so it was hard for me to bond with them when their bonding activities revolved around being transparent and sharing parts of our private life. It always felt like extreme oversharing to me. The experience there shaped me into the person I am today. At the time, it wasn’t pleasant at all but looking back, it really did make me mature.

– MightyPinkyJ

3. My first job was right after MBA and while MBA prepared me for a lot of things, the corporate culture was still a shock. I remember constantly worrying about sending mails with the wrong email signature, messing up on corporate calls, or addressing someone with the wrong title/name. It took me at least 6 months to realize that it’s not the email signature but the content of the email that matters! Basically, as long as you’re doing your job well, and making an effort to learn, you’re doing a good job.

– Srishti Magan

4. My first job was working as a research assistant in a marine biology lab. I was a junior in high school, I worked there until I graduated high school. $9 an hour with 60 hour weeks during the summer. It was the sh*t at 16. I LOVED my coworkers and my job was so rad. Everyone else was struggling to buy burritos at lunch. I was laughing and making it rain every pay day. But not really, because direct deposit.

– screamforicecream

5. McDonald’s at age 16. Taught me how to really work and gave me an appreciation for minimum wage workers. Also taught me how to be subversive and that rules are made for breaking. 

– Pastafarian75 

6. When I started my first job, I was nervous. I kept thinking, ‘What if I get the job wrong or I’m not smart at doing my job?’ I work as a footwear sales assistant and always hated how the job required talking to customers and helping them. Crazy thing is, before you even get a job you tell yourself you can’t speak to customers or people. But once I began working, it became really easy to speak to people and I worked at the job for 9 months. I am still nervous and lack confidence, but what I can say say is, I’ve stopped comparing myself. And this is just the beginning, I’m thinking of leaving my job and looking for an entry level IT job and to work my way through to becoming a network engineer. Just always keep a positive mindset, even if you fail, you must keep going.

– halfaking29

7. To be honest, this isn’t something that truly goes away. Every new job makes you nervous, scared if something will happen or it won’t work out, etc. It’s just about your attitude once you’re in there, that’s what makes the difference. Try your best, help others when you can and that will help you build relationships and make it easier. Building relationships at work isn’t about being a smooth talker, it’s just about being passionate about doing a good job and working together with people.

– loreamuno

8. I got a job I didn’t think I deserved, at a big IT company, after only working sh*tty entry level jobs & no college education. For 3 weeks I couldn’t eat, every step I took in our building was full of anxiety. I felt like I was going to puke through every shift. It sucked, pretty much. But I kept going, because I had to. Because f*ck anxiety, and f*ck not having a good job, and f*ck not doing something because my body decides it’s terrifying. After a little while, I was comfortable, and would only get bad anxiety during all-hands meetings. And now, I’ve moved up & over to a better team & walk the halls like I own the place, and feel great in meetings too. It gets better, I swear it does. You have to keep trying, keep working.

– calmdrive

9. I was very very nervous. It was like a quest to prove my worth to someone else. It was totally wrong to go about it that way, but at some point, your world starts revolving around your job and you rely on other people to make you feel worthy.

– Karishma Pramanik

10. When I first started working, I was excited about the idea of money pouring into my bank account. Then came the Amazon parcels, Swiggy deliveries, and bizarre things like Japanese Blossom scented candles. I also spent a lot of money on thrift stores and Instagram home businesses. When the novelty of the new job faded, I started maintaining an expense account to understand how much I had spent. After the initial regret of having spent on stupid things kicked in, I installed an investment app. Thankfully, I invest in SIPs now. Yep. that’s it. Save money guys, don’t let your first job woo you away and push you into the arms of a capitalist economy.

– Nirmiti Kamat

11. My first job, which I left after only a few months, taught me that you can’t keep resigning over minor inconveniences. Eventually, I realised that it was all part of the process and that there would be some significant challenges along the way.

– Priya Hazra 

12. The shift from attending online classes for college to online meetings for work was honestly overwhelming. I felt a little performance pressure in the start to ‘build a rapport’, you know? But later it all fell into place, thanks to my co-workers.

– Taniya Khan

13. When I got my first job, I had just graduated a month before it and the pandemic was in full swing. It was a little awkward not having any physical contact with my coworkers and just knowing them by their Google Meet icon. If you ask me, I probably still can’t pinpoint their faces. Till date, I’ve never even seen what an office looks, feels or sounds like, so I’m hoping I get to experience that office vibe soon! 

– Raashi Dev

It’s OKAY. We all over-think at new jobs, especially the first ones.