This is primarily for new analysts/consultants but could apply to anyone starting a new job really. The “real-world” reference is to clarify that this doesn’t apply to interns. Interns exist in a bubble, no matter which company they are at.
So here goes a some things that I think you should know about/learn to do, especially if you are working in a big professional services firm:
- You will be asked to do things that you find extremely boring but you should do them and better understand why you hate them
- Paying your dues is definitely true unless you are really lucky or… (not going to go into it)
- You will not receive instructions for most of your tasks
- Seek out individuals who will help you and guide you beyond your firm assigned buddy and counselor (also applies to #3)
- Always attempt a task and come with problems AND solutions (also applies to #3)
- Learn to be lazy – Does not mean don’t work hard but rather work smart. Find ways to do things more efficiently
- Look to learn from everyone around you – peers and seniors, especially Partners.
- Definitely look to learn from your seniors, no matter how dumb you may think they are.
- They are probably not as dumb as you think they are and they will have always have something for you to learn
- Pass on your knowledge to worthy and willing individuals
- Acing your English classes in college does not mean you will be a good business writer. Watch and learn others’ writing style and then create your own.
- Offer to draft emails for seniors and see how they change it before sending it out
- Do not get defensive about your mistakes, just listen and focus on what you should change
- Do not get defensive about others’ mistakes that are made to be yours, just listen and focus on what you should do to not be blamed in the future
- Diversify your skills and projects – This ensures that you work under a variety of management styles and polish different skills in our toolbox
- Seek to make your own path rather than follow others unless you strongly believe in them and their path
- Understand yourself and stick to it. Otherwise, you will lose yourself and the job will define you
- Find hobbies or activities to do outside of work to give yourself a break from work and also meet people outside of work
- If and when drinking alcohol at work events, know your limits
- Be nice to everyone because people remember it. If someone is particularly mean to you, just keep your distance and remember them. 😉
- Don’t send angry or drunk emails
- Challenge yourself because others are not going to go out of their way to do so
- Know that there is always politics involved in the “real-world” – My recommendation is to stay as far away from it as possible
This by no means is a comprehensive list. And the numbering does not indicate how important it is.
Let me know if I should add others on there or if you agree/disagree with any.