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Ace Your First Job

By Bidvest Bank
21-01-2015
Landed your first job? Congratulations! Now that the initial excitement has worn off, you may be realising that transitioning from laid-back student life to the working world can be tricky. No more endless holidays, stimulating lectures or wild midweek parties. Employment, however, offers perks of its own – the most obvious being a paycheck. But while you’re likely to have more money than before, you’ll also have less time. With this in mind, here’s how to make the most of both. 

Get mileage out of your money

If you’re earning an entry-level salary, you might think you’ll save more when you earn more. Remember though that in most cases, as salaries increase so do expenses. With no mortgage or family to support now, your twenties are the ideal time to put a little aside for the future.  Although a hard month’s work merits some reward, avoid squandering your entire paycheck with these salary-saving tactics:  

Set aside a percentage of your salary you’d like to save. Set up a direct deposit so on payday that percentage goes into a high-yield savings account.
Bring a packed lunch to work. The cost of that daily toasted sandwich from the canteen eventually adds up.
Beware of after-work drinks. Join in the camaraderie but not every night of the week. When you do head to the bar, leave behind your wallet and bring only enough cash for one or two drinks.

Treasure your time

Punctuality is essential to get ahead in the working world. After all, no one gets far by sauntering in late because of “traffic” and then rushing out the office at five, halfway through a meeting. But when you have limited time, its value increases. So is it possible to put in all the hours without losing all your own? Here are ways to limit wasting yours:   

Ask about your company’s flexi-time policy. Avoid peak travel times by starting and ending work an hour early or late. If you have to sit in traffic, listen to an audio book, foreign language course, interesting podcast or music you love.
Do your shopping at quiet times. Set aside an hour on the weekend when the shops are quiet to do one weekly shop.  Post-office and supermarket queues thieve precious time. 
Save your leftovers. Every evening, cook more than you need for dinner – your leftovers will save the time you would spend making tomorrow’s lunch.

See the bigger picture

As if managing your time and money weren’t task enough, there’s also your job to do. First jobs can range from being overwhelming to staggeringly boring. Even if you’re selling frozen fish door-to-door, in the arctic, to vegetarian fisherman, think of it as good experience. And in years to come when dinner conversation turns to ‘Worst First Jobs’, you’ll win the accolade. Until then, remember: 

Ask questions. If you’ve been thrown in the deep end, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek out a mentor. 
Keep a positive attitude. If you feel like you’ve taken a step-down from studying and that photocopying all day is turning you into a loon, try and adopt a “No job too small” attitude. 
Remember that it’s only the beginning. You’re more likely to grow into a dream position if you approach all aspects of the job with enthusiasm, as easy or tough as that may be. 

Sometimes keeping an eye on the future is all it takes to thrive in your first job. With a little planning, you’ll reap the benefits of today’s work well into the future. 

To help you on your way, opening a Bidvest Bank account makes saving easy with competitive interest rates and low monthly fees. With a minimum required balance of just R50, the bank account also gives you added benefits like free internet banking and free purchase transactions.