Don’t Be The Office Martyr At Your Student Or Entry Level Job


The day you started your new job was the last day that your family and friends ever saw you.

Since then, you’ve been buried under piles of paperwork, projects and anything else you could get your hands on. You stick behind your paper-made fortress of solitude and eat your lunch with one hand while you simultaneously type the final few pages of your latest report.

Your co-workers barely know your name even though you spend more time in the office than you do in your apartment.

You’re the office martyr.

Many students hires feel the need to work round the clock to prove their rockstar status, but according to Julie Chandler, Division Director of Accountemps at Robert Half International, that’s not the way to make a good impression in a new office.

“[New hires] put themselves in a place of such high expectations,” says Julie, explaining that students and new grads tend to forget what is actually required by the job and their manager, and are driven by their own personal pressure to perform.

Having worked with the placement of accounting and finance professionals, she says that new hires want to be extremely productive but in their attempt to go full-steam ahead, they leave their office relationships and personal health behind.

Find student jobs and entry level jobs in accounting and finance.

You don’t need to work yourself into the ground to get recognized for your work ethic. Instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give this a try:

Learn to say “no”

In the office, if your workload is getting too heavy, don’t be afraid to say “no” to taking on more projects.

“Individuals new to an organization hesitate to say no – it’s in their own minds that if they say no then they’ll look bad in their manager’s eyes,” says Julie, but she adds that is not necessarily the reality.

Taking on more projects or responsibilities when you’re already swamped will only compromise the quality of your work, letting yourself down and your manager. Be honest and realistic with yourself and with your boss, if you can’t handle an increased work load, let them know.

Which leads us to the next tip…

Communication is key

Rather than attempting to run an entire office on your own and hoping that someone will eventually notice your contribution, take your reputation into your own hands.

Communicate with your supervisor every few weeks, let them know what projects you’ve been working on, what you’ve completed and get any feedback that they may have for you.

Recommended reading: How To Get Promoted In Entry Level Accounting And Finance Jobs

Be a team player

If you want something done right, do it yourself. Right? Wrong. In an office, you’re part of a team.

“You’re not the only one that’s being productive and, in realizing that, it really allows you to open your mind,” says Julie. Learning to be a productive and effective member of a team entails more than just putting your name on the staff list. When it comes to the workload, take a page out of the playground handbook and learn to share.

Ask for help

If you’re finding that two hands, one brain and 24 hours in a day simply aren’t enough to get all your work done, it may be time to ask for some help from your co-workers. Stressing-out is not the answer.

Speak with your supervisor to help figure out what is a priority, what you can delegate to your new best friends on your work team, and what can be postponed for a later date. Work with your team so that all of the work gets done, but not at the expense of your sanity.

Work/life balance

No matter how much you love your job, you need to have some separation between your work and personal lives. Working all the time will not only keep your stress levels at Everest heights but can also cause personality changes, says Julie.

Maintaining a healthy balance of work and play time was not just relevant in grade school. Maintaining a handle on your personal and professional time will help you keep a positive attitude in the office, an attribute that managers look for when considering their employee’s work ethic. “When I have that work/life balance, I go in the next day with a smile on my face because I’m happy to be back,” says Julie.

It’s not just about how much you can do, it’s about how well you can do it. “You go out and you do the best job that you can do. When you do the best job you can, you’ll be highly recognized.”

What are your tips for doing well at work without burning out?

 Photo credit: Working Overtime by Biawak_gila on Flickr

About the author

Ishani Nath is a proud McMaster alum, aspiring writer and current journalism grad student at Ryerson University. When she's not hammering out articles, she can usually be found on a patio or nestled on a couch trying to keep up with those crazy Kardashians. She hopes to one day have a job that makes her excited to get up each morning, or at least one that gives her free food. Intrigued? Enthralled? Learn more by following her on @ishaninath.