When I was in college, I would tell myself, “Just get good grades, stay involved, find a job and you’ll be set."
Of course, it wasn’t that simple.
When I started my job at Maverick Transportation after graduating in 2018, I quickly realized there was a lot more to learn on the job than any class I took. Yes, college taught me a ton, but there are a lot of things I wish I'd learned while there instead of stumbling my way through them at my first “big girl job.”
With that in mind, here are a few that I learned in my first few years on the job.
1. Stop saying "sorry."
This might have had the biggest impact on me so far. When I started my job I made a ton of silly little mistakes and felt like they were going to end my career. Especially being in a male-dominated field like supply chain, I felt inferior and timid. To be honest, it took me a long time to realize everyone makes mistakes. Answering emails with “sorry” or “I just” made me look less confident and maybe even less capable. When you believe in yourself, others will believe in you. When you carry yourself with authority, that alone will get you far in your career. This is not easy for me and I’m sure it will continue to be a challenge, but it does make a difference.
2. You don’t have to go big or go home.
I compared myself to a lot of my classmates in college. I was in the honors program at the University of Arkansas and watched all my friends get these positions at huge corporate companies, which I’m sure were accompanied with a paycheck much bigger than mine. I thought this meant I wasn’t doing enough. What I realized is that smaller companies typically have a better work life-balance. I’ve found it’s also much easier to make a difference in a smaller company. At Maverick I feel heard and like my needs matter to them. That makes my job a lot more enjoyable.
3. Be agile.
This is a crucial characteristic to have, especially in today’s world. It also applies to every aspect of your career. I've already made two different moves within my company to positions I thought would boost my career. Showing you are willing to move and make sacrifices will get you far. On a day-to-day level, being agile will help you overcome obstacles. In the trucking industry, we have had a lot of suppliers shut down plants due to COVID-19. We have to be thinking of creative ways to keep trucks moving. Employers want people who adapt and do what needs to be done today and not be stuck in yesterday’s world.
4. A positive attitude goes a long way.
I always try to enter the work day with a smile on my face. Recently this has gotten a little more challenging. The world is uncertain and everyone is struggling in their own way. Now more than ever people need a positive attitude. Whether it’s a customer, one of my colleagues or one of our drivers, I try to be as supportive as I can. This naturally creates great relationships and a supportive work environment.
Caitlyn Tucker is an account manager at Maverick Transportation, an industry-leading provider of transportation and logistics services across North American and headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas.