Career

4 Practical Things You Can Do to Prepare For Your First Job

first job Singapore worker

Joanne Poh

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Everything you’ve done in the first 23 to 25 years of your life was in preparation of this moment. All that studying and tuition, all those exams, that hard-earned diploma/degree and those internships, have finally culminated in this—your first full-time job.

Sorry to break it to you, but the real challenge starts now. Because your first job is probably going to be harder than anything you’ve ever done before—not necessarily because of the actual work, but because you’ll be navigating morning commutes during rush hour, dealing with office politics and trying to get into your boss’s good books.

So what should you do? Memorise your new office’s manual? Hell no. Here are four things you can do in the weeks before your first day at work.

 

Figure out how much sleep you need and start adjusting your sleep patterns

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a biological clock that makes waking up at 7am a painless experience. As a student, it’s likely you were regularly going to bed and waking up later than you’ll be able to when you start at your new job.

Many working adults suffer from exhaustion due to lack of sleep and/or struggle with insomnia that doesn’t let them go to bed when they should. Singaporeans are some of the world’s most sleep-deprived people, and those smart devices sure aren’t helping.

It takes some time to ease into a sleep routine, so give yourself at least a week to get used to waking and getting up early. Know how much sleep you need and calculate what time you will need to go to bed. Don’t have enough hours in a day? Streamline your morning routine so you can get up later, such as by selecting your clothes the day before.

 

Prepare yourself for your morning commute

Little do you know, one of the most stressful parts of your life will be those morning commutes. Because travelling to the CBD between 8 and 9am is WAR.

You are going to deal with the stress of not being able to board the MRT because all the carriages are full. You will be squashed cheek to jowl with a thousand sweaty people. And by the time you get to work, you’ll already be exhausted.

It’s not going to be pretty. So go into it prepared. Bring books to read, make sure your smartphone and/or iPad are charged, and download a playlist with music or podcasts that will help you block out the environment. And if you have something enjoyable you can do on public transport—knitting, origami, Nintendo Switch, whatever—take it with you.

 

Experiment with bringing lunch to work

Even if you plan to eat out at every lunch hour, don’t dismiss bringing your own food to the office until you’ve tried it.

Whether you plan to prepare your own food or just pack leftovers from dinner, start experimenting as early on in your career as possible. If you discover something that works for you, you could save a lot of money, not to mention avoid a ton of weight gain.

 

Build your career wardrobe

Whether you’ll be busting your ass in a boardroom or on a construction site, you have to wear clothes to work. And if you don’t already own appropriate clothes, you need to prepare your wardrobe in the weeks before you start work.

Give yourself enough time to comparison shop, try on various pieces and research online options. Don’t just walk into G2000 and buy the first shirt and pants you see on the rack.

If you’re on a budget, just get a basic set of outfits that can last you from Monday to Friday. When you have more time you can expand your wardrobe, taking advantage of options like doing your shopping overseas in locations like Bangkok, or ordering from online retailers like Amazon.

How are you preparing for your first job? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.