Jobs are a pretty important part of college and post college life. Maybe you have one now; a summer job or internship wrapping up, or a work-study you’ll get back to in September. Whatever it is, work is something you have to get used to. From 9 to 5 and often more, here are some tips for the newly initiated worker.

1: Be A Team Player

Maybe you think you’re the best. Hey, maybe you are the best, and you have all these radial ideas to change everything from the bottom up. That’s great; now shut up. No one wants an over-ambitious intern (as I’ve learned) let alone a cocky rebel who thinks two weeks on the job means they know more than the people who spent two years doing it. Instead, focus on what other people are doing and how your work works with them. People like team players, and people liking you is the basis for your continued employment.

2: Don’t Have Problems

If I have to pick a guy whose brilliant half the time and a mess half the time or a consistant worker, I’ll pick the consistant worker. Why? Because even if the first guy averages out to be good, it’s a headache other people have to work around. Problems are a deal-killer in lower level positions; sure you can wake up late if you’re super talented, but it’s going to be really hard to persuade people of that super talent without lots of experience behind it. Earn your credit first.

3: Don’t Be Scared

People are people, wherever you go. You shouldn’t be nervous about what your boss might say or think about this and that; if you need something like a day off or something reimbursed, ask. If it’s a normal request, it’s something the boss has fielded and likely given out hundreds of times. Don’t be intimidated just because you’re new. If you really are, ask a co-worker if it’s a normal thing to ask, and then with their go-ahead, do it.

4: Collaboration

If you’re an over-ambitious little so-and-so, the best way to be successful is by working with others. “An idea Courtney and I have” is a lot better for a boss than “my idea” especially if Courtney actually has a good idea and maybe improved yours. Collaboration is a great way to get more projects, meet new people, learn from them, and learn skills in any field at any time. Next time you find yourself photocopying something, ask yourself: is there someone else with a cooler project here?

5: Work Off The Clock

If you’re gainfuly employed, at some point you’re going to have to accept that.

You can’t get drunk on a Tuesday night until three A.M. Even if some of you say that you can, or even that you have the difference I guess is that you shouldn’t. Yeah, you might get your body to work on time. Fair. But hungover, you’re getting nothing done, and if you have the sort of job that can’t tell a hungover tired dying you versus a productive one, get a new job, yo, because that one’s lame. Working off the clock doesn’t mean obsessing about email or strategy; it just means setting yourself up for success or away from failure for future projects.

It’s not all bad, though. Your weekends get a whole lot weirder with paychecks to blow.

[Image credit: liewcf on Flickr]