Starting blog posts like these are never easy. I’d like to hurry up and give you the short answer, but it’s just not that simple, and the more I think about it, the more I realize there is no short answer to this question.
Actually wait, let’s pause for a second and take a quick step back. My sincerest congratulations go to the Class of 2011 on your achievement. I imagine four years ago you never thought this day would come, and now that it has, you’re wondering how time moved so fast and how your body handled so much alcohol over the years. While you spent the last several years of your life learning, studying, and vomiting information onto a paper or test and answering questions, maybe the biggest question of your life now faces you. The bitch of it all is that no matter how long you studied, what courses you took, or what school you went to, most of you just won’t know the answer till it hits you square in the head. So, what’s the question?
What’s next and will I enjoy it?
Repeating what I’ve said from the beginning, I’d love to make this a short answer, but there are too many factors in play. With that said, I’m not sure this question deserves 4,000 words. Mildly short and very bittersweet, here’s my answer.
You will probably NOT love your very first job out of college. This is for a number of reasons, but it’s mostly because the pay isn’t where you’d like it to be, you believe it’s a “stepping stone” job/organization, and lastly because you just don’t know any better.
Folks who held internships may be more welcoming of their first job, being that they are able to judge it against other work environments. Others just aren’t so lucky. Many friends of mine were miserable in their first job out of college. Hatred was a weak word in this situation, and those feelings caused them to look for new opportunities far too soon. To their disappointment, new organizations expected much more and the work environments were far worse. While their salaries and responsibilities grew, so did their misery and disappointment. They missed their first job, and regretted their decisions.
So, what is one to do?
Don’t fret if you do not love your first job. It’s often not until the 3rd, 4th, or 5th company when a person feels they’ve found their “home”, and even then, their “home” can quickly turn into their old neighborhood. You’ll find your place and security eventually, so use your first job for what it is — a first job. Gain the experience you need to move up in that company or into another organization, learn skills and make connections needed to advance your career and salary, and treasure what you have because many of your peers are not as lucky and can’t find work.
COTJ’s Last Words
Things have a hilarious way of working themselves out. I do believe this happens for most people, but if your life doesn’t magically work itself out in front of your eyes, then maybe you’re looking too hard. Let life come to you, but be ready for it when it does. Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that come your way, no matter what they are related to.
Most plans in life fail. It’s just true. Plan your night out for your birthday. Plan your trip to Greece. Plan to DVR the season finale of the office. Just don’t plan too heavy into your career or your life in general. It’s just too much fun to let major decisions hit you in the face. Just be ready for them.
Congratulations again to the class of 2011. Now go out there and do the damn thing!