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Tips of the Month Archives

Early career advice from the CBC Early Career Committee

Please enjoy this compilation of tips across many months and many members of the CBC Early Career Committee, all from their own experiences.

Compile a secondary New Hire packet.

Most jobs will offer New Hire materials, but I highly recommend supplementing this information with helpful tips from the coworkers at your level (or close to your level). During my first few months with my editorial team, a fellow junior editor shared various protocols and templates (and I scribbled down her shortcuts and recommendations). Today, I still have many of these materials compiled in a folder and I still find myself referring to them!

Keep track of all the extra COVID-caused work that you’ve (most likely) been doing

Whether that’s being your team’s de facto Zoom expert or covering the work responsibilities of unfilled positions, all of the extra work that you’re putting in right now should absolutely factor into future salary and promotion discussions.

Inbox Etiquette

 I find it helpful to keep emails in your inbox until you’ve accomplished the task included therein, or responded adequately to any questions directed your way. This way, there’s a visual incentive to promptly completing short-term tasks and communications.

Calendar-Secured Communication

 If your manager(s) is very busy—and not always available to respond to questions—it will be life-altering to implement a 10-15-minute daily check-in for you both to ensure everything is on track. This more frequent structured communication will help you both move forward with all of your shared goals and maximize efficiency on both ends. A good time for this check-in is first thing in the morning.

Invest in your personal space

You don’t have to make large purchases to make your space more comfortable and calming—things as small as a new candle, a houseplant, and/or a new set of bed sheets will go a long way to care for yourself. If we’re going to be stuck inside into the new year, we might as well make our spaces as comfortable as possible.

Make time to interact with your coworkers outside of work meetings

Virtual lunches, happy hours, co-working time, and activities outside of work are all great ways to build relationships with people that you would normally see every day in the office. We all need social interaction, of course, but building friendships within the industry will also be helpful for your future career aspirations. 

Go easy on yourself

When you’re starting a new job, internship, etc., so much of the learning curve has nothing to do with your career track or skill set. For every new experience, you’ll need to learn your supervisors’ work and communication styles, individual company policies and procedures, the training and programs you need to actually accomplish the task at hand, and feedback on your completed projects in real time so you can learn and improve. It takes a lot of time, and you’re going to mess up—but it does get easier!

Practice good posture

 Sitting for most of the day, especially when starting your first 9-5 office job, can take a huge toll on your body. Good posture is essential—straight back, feet flat on the floor, shoulders down and relaxed, computer screen at your eye line. Set reminders to get up and get moving if you need them, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your HR department about chair and standing desk options.

For whichever project needs your most attention, or that you’re finding it hard to make time for

Schedule even 20 minutes of your time, each day, to tackle this task when you have the most energy. For example, submissions is one of the most important parts of my job as an editorial assistant, but because other top-priority projects and emails come in throughout the day, I often find myself pushing submissions aside. Now I try my best to carve out a little time right away in the mornings (when I have the most energy, and when I receive the least amount of emails) to read submissions, even if I can’t spend that much time on it.

Working remotely

What works best for your productivity in the office is likely what’s going to work best for your productivity at home. I originally thought working from home meant I would be able to keep Netflix on in the background, but I quickly realized that’s not the case. I typically listen to music when working at the office, so doing that at home really helped me focus.

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