When Getting the Job is not Enough

I meet far too many young people who seem to be under the assumption that getting out of school is the easy part. Rushing to get a good job is seen as some sort of promised land to freedom and responsible adulthood. Unfortunately, now more than ever, getting the job is only the beginning.

The Myth:

Go to school, get good grades, go to a good college, and get a good job = have a great life.


  • If you go to a “good college”, that is no guarantee of employment in your area of expertise. I myself found that even choosing a specialization or major is not so much about identifying future job prospects than it is about identifying what you enjoy enough to dedicate the majority of your time exploring. You’re paying for it, you should enjoy the time.

* STEM majors’ salaries do consistently trend higher than those who majored in humanities but there is little variation in pay amongst subject areas ie English majors vs. History majors or Math vs. Biology majors.

  • A “good” school does guarantee a sizeable price tag (usually financed with crippling student loan debt that will make it impossible for you to save for retirement until sometime in your 40s). In state, public schools averaged $24,061 in annual tuition costs for the 2015-2016 year. Private schools averaged close to 2x that number.
  • If you are lucky enough to earn the median entry level salary in the US, then upon graduation it would take you over a decade to pay off an average college education financed through traditional means.

The Myth

Your job will give you the real world experience you need to thrive. You will gain skills necessary for success and be rewarded for your efforts. Take care of the company, and they will take care of you.


  • Your employer owes you nothing. Most first time employees seem to think that it is the company’s responsibility to look out for the best interests of their employees. This is false. The goal of any business is to increase the bottom line whether that be financial position, market share, or impact to funders/shareholders. Employee welfare is not on the list.
  • A W2 means you work “at will”. Your employer can fire you at any time without cause, severance, or prior notice.
  • All work you create is considered property of the company, and you cannot take any of it with you.
  • If you want to leave, giving 2 weeks notice is the standard (ie firing your boss “at will” is frowned upon).
  • Your job is not responsible for your financial welfare, especially after you leave. The US has been eliminating pensions for years, adding to the gap between the rich and the poor. (If you are broke enough to need a job, you are also broke enough to work til you die. Like the first bullet says, they owe you nothing). Don’t get me wrong, not everyone is broke, but most Americans are about 2 paychecks away from being in dire straights financially. You put yourself at a disadvantage by becoming dependent in this way.

As Defined by Webster


-noun 1. a piece of work (exertion/effort/labor toil), esp. a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation for an agreed price: She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.


-noun 1. hard and continuous work; exhausting labor or effort. 2. a laborious task. 3. archaic. Battle; strife; struggle -verb (used with object) 4 to engage in hard and continuous work; labor arduously: to toil in the fields. 5. to move or travel with difficulty, weariness, or pain

Entrepreneurs’ definition


-acronym 1. Just Over Broke 2. Jumping Over Bills 3. Just Obey your Boss 4. Journey of the Broke

Most people are living a lie thinking “I’ve done everything right” “I deserve financial freedom”, or “my job should take care of me”. A job is a means to an end, a piece of your career puzzle. If you went to school, and got a job, that’s where the journey begins. It is your responsibility to turn the toil of your degree, and the labor of a 9 to 5 into a career you can be proud of.

The sooner you take ownership for your career and see yourself as the owner and CEO of your labor, the faster you move yourself from being dependent on an employer, and become an independent member of the workforce. Not everyone wants to own their own business, but everyone should own their work. Getting the job is just the beginning. That’s the honest truth.

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