I've noticed most people seem to be writing these in-character. I'm not that kind of writer, so I'll be writing as a player. If that's not appropriate here, let me know and I'll put it elsewhere.
It took me a while to get into the game, but I think that was mostly my fault. For one thing, somehow I got the Employment tab in the side menu closed, so I didn't discover the mission and discreet work links there until I'd been playing for weeks. I saw people talking about missions on the forum, and then worked out where that was. They add so much to the game that it really felt lacking without them.
I'm a conservative player by nature, and try not to jump into things I can't reverse. I learned a lesson in Lacuna Expanse when I immediately spent the small batch of Essentia (roughly equivalent to Bonds in this game, though Bonds come easier) that it starts you with, and then didn't have it to do some things that would have been much more helpful for something else. So here I've tried not to spend any money, or especially bonds, that wasn't absolutely necessary. I may be lagging behind players who are spending more to speed up things like University courses or to buy the best equipment, but I guess I'll find that out when there's more interaction. So far, it feels almost like a single-player game to me. Not in a bad way, but I'm looking forward to it feeling more communal.
The various types of work seem a little scattered, maybe because I haven't gotten a handle on just what they do for me. Career work seems the most profitable way to spend my energies by far. I haven't done any side jobs in a long time, because they seemed to use up a lot of Focus/stats for the pay they offer. Maybe they're beneficial in some other way I haven't noticed yet. Discreet work seems better, but still not worth spending energy on that I could put into career tasks. Those other types of work might become very appealing if something happened that caused me to lose my career, though, so I can imagine that being the case.
My reputation isn't great (between 13% and 55% for the four affiliations), compared to what I've seen people talking about on the forum. Maybe being in Special Services until just recently hurt it. I did get arrested now and then. And I'm not certain that getting away with illegal tasks doesn't hurt it -- maybe there's a level of intelligence services behind the visible Security department, that spots those things even when I seem to have gotten away with them. Anything's possible.
As of right now, at level 11, I'm out of new missions to do and I have all my stats at Exceptional, so I'm grinding away at a new career to gain some levels in that, and just generally trying to keep my credits and XP creeping up. It's not exciting right now, but I'm still engaged, and really looking forward to new things, like a jump gate to a new star opening up, or the ability to buy a ship, or factions developing between players.