Your first real job: 4 tips from a millennial

By Kristin Piombino

Congratulations to all the new college grads out there!

Toss your tasseled hat into the air; take last-minute pictures of all the campus landmarks; and stay out all night with your friends at your favorite bar because in a few weeks, you’ll be sitting behind a desk with a Real Person Job.

But don’t worry.

As a May 2010 grad, I can assure you that joining the workforce as a millennial can almost be as much fun as college.


As one of the newest millennials to join Ragan’s Millennial Mafia, I wanted to share what I learned during my first month on the job.

1. Seize opportunities, even if it’s not ‘work’ related

If someone invites you to lunch, go. If there’s a networking event on Friday night, go. If the person in the neighboring cubicle asks you to join the workout group after work on Wednesday, go.

Get to know the people you’re working with. Not only will you have friends and enjoy going to work every day, you will feel more comfortable around your co-workers and be more inclined to share your ideas.

The faster you can start contributing, the better.

2. Don’t turn your work in late

Keep track of your to-do list, meeting schedule and upcoming projects. Why? If you don’t get something done on time, other people’s projects could be affected. This is much worse than getting docked a letter grade.

Also, communicate openly with your boss. If you have a long-term project, let your boss know your progress and when he or she can expect it to be finished. This shows that you’re reliable and hard working.

3. School’s out! But the learning never stops

No matter what the job is, you won’t know all of the material you’re going to need on day one. Be prepared to learn. As a writer and editor, I’m currently learning basic HTML. Maybe you will have to learn a new technology or another language. Whatever it is, be ready to take a lot of notes, ask questions and master it.

4. Go beyond the first impression

Your first impression doesn’t end when you ace the interview and accept the job offer. The first few weeks on the job are essential for proving yourself. Show that you’re excited to be there and that you’re willing to work hard. Take initiative on extra projects, work quickly and be friendly with your co-workers. You’ll prove that you’re dependable and hard working, and quickly gain more responsibility and interesting assignments.

Meet the Millennial Mafia

Figuring out where you “belong” in your office can be tricky.

Especially if you’re still sleeping on your parent’s couch.

The Millennial Mafia at Ragan Communications is here to help. Join us on our adventures as we find out what it means to be a twentysomething, who can’t stop tweeting and texting.

And even if you’re not a millennial (or you’re just a millennial at heart), we think there’s a lot we can learn from you. Like…how to send a telegram.

First, see our video.

Now, we’d like to introduce you to our cast:

Jonny: Forget “EveryMan.” Think of Jonny as “EveryMillennial.” He’s plugged into 15 different social networking sites. He loves creating wireless hot spots. He dreams in memes. Jonny knows there’s a time and place to pop your collar.

Jenny: This over-achieving millennial survives on four hours of sleep each night and works 15 hours a day. She’s constantly thinking of ways to save the world—one tweet at a time. However, Jenny’s work ethic and over-eagerness for her job can be intimidating to other co-workers. But they’ll eventually see that she’s just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…

Alan: He’s more than a pouty lip. He’s got great hair, too—but even more importantly, he’s a millennial (even though he’s not quite sure what that means). Surprisingly, Alan is on the cusp of “what’s new” and “hot” in the digital world. So, will he touch while the iron’s hot? Our guess is a resounding yes.

Narrator: Jessica is the “voice of reason” for the Mafia, helping to bridge the gap between the old and young in the office. She’s still part of the millennial generation, but she’s growing up. Two weeks ago, she stopped drinking PBR.

Bill: As the Mafia mentor, we asked Bill what he’d like to contribute in his role. His response: “By virtue of having lived in that long era of pre-Internet darkness and confusion, perhaps I will bring a fresh perspective to the doings and behavior of this timorous, oblivious, self-satisfied, complacent, maddeningly condescending generation who think the Modern Era began with them. That is my task. May I be worthy of it!” Geez. Can somebody give Bill a Xanax?

Want to learn more? Follow our adventures on Facebook.