A few days ago I was contacted by a Workplace Consultant who was conducting a study on advise you would give your 18 year old self.
It made me smile and think back to my days as a fresh faced 18 year old, excited about the world, my career and the future in front of me. Fresh out of polytechnic I was eager to start working and discover more about the world.
As a 40 year old women, I certainly don't have all the answers but I can offer a few words of wisdom to my 18 year old self...
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Have more confidence in your life choices, whether they are good or bad decisions, to talk to a trusted family member and friends, you won't be the first person (or the last) to experience whatever situation you are in and often other people can help.
In the capacity of the workplace, I would say not to draw yourself into any office politics, there will inevitably be drama, conflict and arguments, just keep yourself on the sidelines. It can be difficult at times to keep away from it, but has my mum always taught me, stick to the facts, rather than gossip.
Try your best to stay away from office politics
Sydney, Australia (I'm on the left)
Businesses will restructure, go through mergers, go into administration and put their employees through redundancy programs. This is without a doubt is stressful and very emotional and will always feel like a personal attack. Know your rights and arm yourself with information by speaking to either a lawyer or an institution such as ACAS.
Know your rights and arm yourself with the correct information
Most importantly in both your personal and professional life, do not under any circumstances put up with or accept any kind of sexism, discrimination, sexual advances or inappropriate behaviour from anyone. Whether this means speaking up, confronting or reporting the individual. It's not ok for other people to take advantage or behave in a manner which makes you feel uncomfortable.
In the past 20 years in the workforce I've been through promotions, office drama, career changes, redundancies, business collapsing, working as a consultant, working in big firms, small firms and medium firms, I've had good, bad and fantastic managers. I've worked in New Zealand, Australia and the UK and the one lesson I've learnt is to be true to myself and keep my integrity.
Always be true to yourself and keep your integrity.
To all the 18 year olds, enjoy your careers, don't be afraid to ask questions and most importantly have fun! X