"I love Your First Year of Work - A Survival Guide. Every college and university should have this book, in numbers, in their libraries, bookstores, and Career Centres.” - Prof Jonathan Jansen, Rector UFS


What to expect from Your First Year of Work - A Survival Guide 


When I wrote this book it was aimed predominantly at workplace newbies; those who have no experience of work culture and who need guidance to become fully functional employees. However, once I start discussing the book with friends and colleagues, many of them said the same thing: ‘Never mind the graduates, I could do with this book.’

The truth is that some of us take months – years even – to discover and accept that work is a whole new world; one often entirely different from our familiar social and organisational cultures. The language is different, the communications, the expectations, the rules, the codes are different; by not seeing this we hold ourselves back from being as successful and happy as we might be.

I was certainly one of those people, blindly doing what I thought was my best, all the while wondering if I was getting it right. I was years before I realised that I – and many others – were missing out on so many opportunities, simply because we didn’t know the rules.

What are these rules? For all the in-depth exercises and guidelines, you will need to read the book, but here are some examples of what to expect.

  • Communication is a two-way street: if you are not heard and understood, then it’s miscommunication.
  • Workplace language is not the same as your social language. Many a deal has been lost through a ‘howzit’ or ‘!*&#’.
  • What you wear does make a difference. Be prepared to adapt your dress to your particular environment. This is about respect – for your peers and yourself.
  • Diversity is to be celebrated and you can – and must – remain yourself, even while blending your personal culture with your new workplace culture.
  • You cannot share your talents and skills if you don’t know what they are. Take time to explore what it is that you do best and what fulfils you; then seek out opportunities to do just that.
  • Making lengthy personal calls during working hours is time theft. Really.
  • Being unpunctual shows that you don’t care about other people’s time.
  • Personal hygiene at work is as much about health as it is about aesthetics. Do you really want to shake hands with someone who doesn’t wash hers after using the loo, or sit next to the guy who’s just had left-over garlic pasta?
  • Every single person in your workplace has something to teach you. Use even the most negative experiences to learn and grow.
  • If you simply hate your current job, keep on giving your very best while seeking something more suitable. Never burn your bridges. Never accept a salary without first earning it.
  • Don’t use your company computer for job-searches.

If these sound like lessons that that you or your employees would benefit from learning, you’ll hopefully find Your First Year of Work at your local book store or: 

For bulk discounts of 20 or more copies, kindly email Shelagh. 

Your First Year of Work – A Survival Guide is published by Bookstorm.