First jobs are meant to be just that – first jobs. Some earn horrible income, some get banged up a bit, some get both. Others are lucky to find first jobs they like, others are luckier to find first jobs that add a good line or two on their resumes. But these don’t really last. And they shouldn’t.
For many fresh graduates, a first job will define himself/herself. In the real world, graduates have no labels on themselves other than their degrees. Thus, it’s only normal that they seek for other labels to define themselves, and this label is their first job. It’s what they tell their fellow graduates, former professors, relatives, and it gives them a social identity.
To the graduates, here are some things you might experience with your first job. These are normal, don’t let them bring you down.
“I hate my job”
Many fresh graduates have their dissatisfaction rooted in their achievements in school. I fully understand where you’re coming from. You finish from a good school, achieve your fair share of successes in school, so you feel like you deserve only good jobs. But what if you don’t? What if your first job doesn’t match your expectations?
I felt this way, too, when I got my first job. In fact, I already felt this way while I was applying for my first job. I applied in different companies, but never got accepted into any. Aside from my current company, only 1 other company made me an offer. But I never let this stop me. I knew that it was just an entry level job, and I knew that I had a lot to learn about office life.
Stay humble. You’re a freshman in the school of life. Be open and learn from your seniors. There’s little room for hate when a student is eager to learn.
“What was school for?”
It wasn’t until I spent a few months in my first job that I understood and learned to appreciate what I learned from school. I learned that it’s not just about what we were able to achieve in school, it’s also about what skills we acquired while we were achieving.
I was a Psychology major, but I ended up being a game tester and QA specialist. What were the odds, right? The skill sets and right state of mind needed, I learned through my course—meticulousness, documentation, thinking up test scenarios, focusing attention to the task at hand.
Focus on the skills, rather than the achievements. Achievements are milestones; skills are what we need to reach the milestones.
What your first job is for
Your first job is not who you are. It is not a title you will carry for life. Even the best graduates begin as Management Trainees. In fact, titles won’t really matter. What matters is your value as a person. Think about this: consultants are hired because they are great at what they do, not because they were former CEOs.
Take that first job. Learn from it. Learn from your boss, whether he or she is good or not. There’s always something to be learned from seniors. See it as a course, a major subject that’ll help you get the skills needed to move on to better opportunities and have bigger roles.
When you think your first job isn’t leading you anywhere, remember, your bosses had first jobs, too.