Two years ago I got my first job working for the Adventure Leadership Program at my campus's recreation center. In this job, I am a rock climbing instructor and adventure trip guide. Since this is my last semester at my university I realized I have gained so much real-life experience by working at my first job.
I will always be a bit of a perfectionist, but I have come to understand that mistakes happen. There are times when I accidentally clocked in incorrectly or forgot to come in for a shift. As soon as I make a mistake I contact my boss and own up to it. Working is not about straining for perfection, but rather reaching for excellence. Admitting when I am wrong is the best way I can be corrected.
It's okay for others to have different personalities. The employees at the Adventure Center all have different personalities. If you have ever taken the personality colors to test you know there are four colors a personality can be: blue, orange, gold, and green. At our last staff meeting, we took the test. As I look around the room after figuring out I am a blue I realize how different we all are. Understanding other personalities help me anticipate their needs easier. For a long time, I just assumed people with type A gold personality type were unnecessarily particular about details and being on time, but I have learned that every personality is needed in the workplace. We all have something to bring to the table.
Being late matters. When I am late it affects everyone else. If I am going in for a closing shift it means that staff from the earlier shift stay until I arrive. If I am late for an opening shift it means that my other coworkers have to pick up the slack and set everything up by themselves. Overall, my lateness is no longer about me. While I wish I didn't have to count minutes or ever look at a watch I want to be sure I am respecting other's time so they respect mine.
Another valuable lesson my job has taught me is the value of a dollar. Now I look at that Chipotle bowl and think to myself that is a whole hour of work. Growing up my parents didn't have a ton of money, but we always had enough. I never really thought about how much food and living expenses are. I used to beg my parents to go out to restaurants. In hindsight, I am so glad we didn't go out to eat a lot growing up because now I see how it can dig into my savings.
Not everything I do is glamours, but all of it is important. I get chalk all over my pants and calluses on my hands. Loading canoes into the boat shed is my least favorite activity. Even still I know that the overall mission of our organization is to get students to participate in outdoor/indoor adventure activities. With this mission in mind, I am able to push on through the tasks I see as more mundane. Knowing your purpose is essential for excelling in all areas of the workplace.
It can be hard to balance working life and school, but I gained so much from the experience. I highly recommend you find your own job on campus. That way you can walk right from your class to work.