Your First Job will Suck
Your first job is not going to be about how smart you are or the grades you got in undergrad or the awards you got in high school. Your first job will be about you getting some experience. That’s it. If you try to make it into something it is not (like your life’s work) you will be disappointed.
Things you will think about your first job that don’t matter:
- “I’m not using my degree”
- “I can’t believe I went to (any college) for this”
- “I hope I get promoted soon”
Stop dwelling on everything that first job is not, and instead talk to yourself about what it is:
- “This is a good place to start”
- “I’m going to learn as much as I can from as many people as I can as quickly as I can”
- “At least I’ll find out if I really want to do ______ for the rest of my life”
Pit Stops en route to Rome
So you went to college, got a degree and now have no idea what to do with it. Yes, choosing a career is a big step. Don’t you remember how challenging it was to pick a major? Remembering that you are on a journey is the lesson that is often easily forgotten. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your career won’t be either. There’s a reason they call it your “life’s work”. The career you will build is the destination. Every job and bit of experience along the way are the pit stops that make it worth it. And if you are a Millennial, take comfort in the fact that your average tenure is about 2 years with any given company versus 7 years for the baby boomer generation. According to CNBC job hopping is the new normal, so if you hate it, you can find something else in a couple of years without being categorized as abnormal.
Stopping to complain about where you are in the early stages, is the equivalent of saying I want to travel from Connecticut to California and then being upset 9 miles into the drive that I am only in New York.
When I was 21 and fresh out of NYU I had no idea what I was supposed to do with a degree in English and creative writing. Best advice to anyone else in that position?
“Pick something, and if you don’t like it, try something else. “
– My older brother
Each experience will leave you wiser and better prepared for what comes next and when you have finally “arrived” you will have some great stories to tell – if you play your hand wisely.
If you approach each new encounter, each stop as though it is the destination, you will find yourself not only disappointed, but bitter. Instead, think of each job as a building block towards something great.
A career is not about the destination, it’s about the journey and the pit stops aren’t just necessary, they’re the point of the whole trip.
What anxieties do/did you have about landing your first “real” job? Leave a message in the comments below.