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It is true that everyone’s got to start somewhere. No matter how far along you are in your career path, you always want to have that unforgettable memory that you can look back when you are old and sipping tea in your rocky chair that is probably already as old as you are. Our first jobs in Kuala Lumpur were anything but glamorous. But, the most important part is that you can always look back at the different ends of your career and find some important words of wisdom to use in your current career position, or generally to make use of in life.

Some people now appreciate the time that they have spent in perhaps the service industry, cleaning up tables after work or serving cakes and French fries at customers’ tables. Even being a fast-food worker or a drive-thru attendant, it taught them graciously how to deal with customers, especially those who are hard to please. It also taught them how to handle things correctly during crazy lunch hours although you messed up at first, you get things done perfectly at the end.

Practice makes perfect. We learned that ever since we got our first jobs. I believe that each individual nowadays have their fair share of odd and unforgettable first job experiences. There are certain lessons that we learned from them and maybe even some career advice that we could give to ourselves and the future employees.

#1 Gain power from positivity

Ever wonder how you get through the hours you spent cleaning the countertops at the cashier after work every single day? Or maybe, having to act calm and hold your composure when grumpy customers come by? Getting through these tough shifts or demanding projects and deadlines is all about having an optimistic and positive mindset.

Every company or bosses want their employees to be able to tackle problems that they face at work on a daily basis with patience and composure. They have to be able to stay enthusiastic and get things done when the deadlines are arriving. No matter how tough the process could be, the outcome needs to be something that they can look back and be proud of. Of course, it comes to no surprise that along the way you might find yourself complaining and breaking down every second and every time that you get overwhelmed or tripped up by obstacles.

Yes, you may not have the choice to pick who you are going to be working with, your daily schedule, tasks that you have to handle or even the long commute length that you have to take every day. But you sure can always choose how to respond and handle the non-ideal workplace scenarios that might pop up once in a while. The work can get very tiring at some point, but I still think that everyone should try to find the gold or positivity that could be hiding beneath the hard surfaces.

#2 Grab every chance and opportunity

Through all the super tiring hours working your first ever job, with no experience handling it at all at first, I still believe in seeing every job even when it is not in your field, as an opportunity to learn a new valuable set of skills and gain experiences. In the end, it all depends on how you view certain things like one can be pouring coffee and created an almost failed coffee art to customers but they can take it as a pathway to develop valuable people skills.

Even though you might be doing things such as washing the dishes, taking orders or arranging the inventory, all of that can be useful transferable skills that you can make use of in future jobs. Some people would have never imagined that running a cash register alone can make them more comfortable and confident in what they do today. Of course, this is because they are used to working with people and how to handle their mood swings at certain times.

#3 Prove your value and what you can do

For sure, when you are the new worker at that one restaurant or employee in the company, you are expected to get things done as best as you can and manage to meet what the company wants to achieve from you. You need to get used to the work environment and how people do stuff around there. Early on, it is important to maintain a composed figure and the image of being reliable so that people can see you as somebody who can be trusted with important responsibilities.

When you are given a new list of tasks to be finished at least by the end of the week, of course, you cannot get all panicky and be too concerned about how you can get all of the things done. You have to take a deep breath and try to sort out the tasks given accordingly so that it will be more manageable. After all, your job is to learn, grow and develop.

#4 Keep your composure

If you have worked behind the counter of a coffee shop or take food orders from customers, you have probably known the struggle of having to deal with customers that have many demands and keeps complaining. From working your first job, you get to experience how to handle these hard-to-please customers and meet their needs. It can’t be denied that people skills are an important set of skills to have these days and it is a huge part of any job. It is important to know how to deal with all kinds of people. This is so that when the time comes and by the time you get your dream job, you will not expect that everything will be glitters and rainbows especially when you have to deal with various clients.

Some people who have worked before know that the most important early lessons that they get about the workplace were about dealing with difficult people, staying composed and calm even when sometimes, things get so out of control and you have to multitask. I feel like every worker should understand the importance of keeping a smile on your face and remain collected and patient when dealing with demanding customers. Put the customers above anything else, and try to keep them happy and satisfied.

#5 Connect with people and have a life

Starting a new job is a scary feeling especially when you do not have any experience whatsoever beforehand. Whether you were hired to fill in a vacant spot of an old worker for a while or joining a recently created job position, it can be tough and awkward trying to fit in with the co-workers who seem to already know each for ages already. It depends on the company as well, if they are friendly and have no problem interacting with you, then you are obviously in luck! One of the few easiest ways to feel more comfortable during your first few weeks at work is by working closely with co-workers and try to integrate yourself into their team.

It is important that you are able to create some kind of connection with the workers. You can ask questions when you don’t know something, don’t hesitate to do it. You need to learn to continue networking with various sorts of people throughout every phase of your career, not only during your first job. People who had worked before are considered lucky and at an advantage, since they already know how to do certain things in a certain way and how to get connected with other workers.

In a nutshell, get productive and make sure your works are done on time but also, don’t be too stingy with your time. Make use a part of it to collaborate with people. Try to find a balance between being protective with your time and forming relationships with other people. At the end of the day, every worker should understand that work should be inspiring and engaging.

If you are devoting and engaging 40+ hours of your life each week to something, make it at least some of the best time in your life. You need to be active, excited, and curious about the lessons that your job can offer. So, whether you are arranging lotions on isle 78 or mopping the dirty mall floor, remember that it is not the job titles that matters, it’s what you make of it.