Saturday 7 December 2019

What I wish I’d known before I started: 'Asking why things are done in the way they are done shows interest and initiative...'

Learn how to fix it, advises Jerry Moriarty
Learn how to fix it, advises Jerry Moriarty

Jerry Moriarty

'Experience counts for a lot - but the biggest thing lacking in your first job is confidence. Everyone you work with seems older and more experienced. It can be hard to give feedback because you assume they know better. But things are often done a certain way because that's the way it always has been - and no one questions it. Asking why it's done a certain way shows interest and initiative.

"You should take opportunities that come your way - whether it's working extra hours or volunteering for projects. That can really get you noticed and develop skills.

"Building relationships is hugely important and people notice how you treat them and others. It is important to be respectful to everyone, you never know when you might need their support.

"How you deal with making mistakes is really important. Everyone makes them and they do contribute to your learning. It is always best to be upfront about it. Trying to hide them - or worst of all, blaming someone else - never works in the long run.

"It's better to work out how to fix it and then ensuring it doesn't happen again.

"Don't be afraid of the unknown. I moved to the UK in my 20s and the experience I gained there was invaluable. I had to learn a lot because all the legislation and regulation was different, but I also realised that people worked very differently. Understanding cultures is very important, especially if you are going to be dealing with people from different countries and cultures.

"I remember the first big presentation I did to senior managers from a few insurance companies. I was terrified - not only because it was such a big group but also because of who they were. It was only when the Q&A started that I realised I knew far more about the subject than they did. But then, it wasn't their job to know, and that is why they had people like me. Their job was to manage.

"That's a useful rule for presentations - you're usually asked to do them because you know more about the subject. That said, never be complacent about presenting, as it can be very obvious when you haven't prepared.

"My last point is always join your employer's pension scheme if you can. Even if you don't think you'll be there long, the value of the money you and your employer save when you are in your 20s can make a huge difference."

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