How to Survive Your First Week of Work

How to Survive Your First Week of Work - The Nueva Latina

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post on The Nueva Latina!

I am a recent college graduate from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and now working as an electrical engineer in the Aerospace industry. I recently relocated to Phoenix, Arizona with hopes and dreams of self-discovery and a new desire for exploration. While this might sound like I am fairly responsible and have my life together, I absolutely DO NOT!

So if you’re interested in hearing about (or laughing at) my stumbles of missing exits, taking 30 minutes to figure out how to use the office printer, or accidentally blowing up my circuits, then continue to follow me and my posts!

This was my first week of work and let me tell you, shit got real! I had interned at this company this past summer, yet becoming a full-time was a lot to adjust to. I have put together a list of things that I wish I had done along with what I did right during my internship and the first week of working in the real world.

Be Prepared

First off, you should definitely know what your position is and what it entails. Will you be in an office, the powerplant, or working on various sites? What is the dress code? When my manager described the position’s responsibilities, I requested some supplemental materials to read to get ahead. Let’s be honest, I didn’t study them as in-depth as I said I would. But hey, at least I got a glimpse of what was to come.

Secondly, I asked my manager for the site’s dress code. I was hesitant about asking because I thought it sounded girly but it turned out the attire was more casual than I anticipated and I ended up saving a bunch of money!

Don’t forget, journals, pens and highlighters are ALWAYS a necessity!

How to Survive Your First Week of Work - The Nueva Latina

Getting to Work

So now you have the job but how are you going to get there? Make sure to map out your commute and target what could be some traffic areas and verify your entrance to the building. You should add about 15 minutes to your current commute estimation just in case of extra traffic or to account for getting inside and situated in your building. If you’re like me and run on Mexican time, set all of your clocks a few minutes ahead so when you’re rushing out the door you will actually be right on time 😉

How to Survive Your First Week of Work - The Nueva Latina

First Impressions – They Matter!

You are going to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time and chances are you may not always run into them in the future but it is best to leave colleagues with a positive perspective of you.

Si, todavia tienes que saludar a todos! Your mama knew what she was doing when she taught you manners. Always be sure to give a firm handshake with no more than two pumps. Like they say, more than two shakes and you’re playing with yourself! 😉

I received a tip from a great friend that I have been implementing this week and has helped substantially. Create an excel sheet to keep track of the people you meet, what they do, and something to remember them by. For example, Dilbert, Engineer Specialized in XYZ, Sits by Bob. This will come in handy when your direct managers and mentors are busy and you need help on approaching problems.

The general consensus that I’ve gathered from my coworkers is that having a good attitude will get you a long way. Some days it will be frustrating but it’s these days are when you are truly learning. My personal motto is “to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” If you’re entering the private sector, particularly as an engineer, there aren’t a lot of latinas and so it may be difficult to find people to relate to or you may feel intimidated by your role or peers. My hope is that by taking the initiative to prepare and learn from the mistakes of others, you may have an easier transition and pioneer the way for future latinas in STEM.

How to Survive Your First Week of Work - The Nueva Latina

Have you recently started a job?

What tips have helped you with jump-starting your career?

Let’s taco-bout it!