First real jobs are awesome aren’t they? And totally horrible! Since I’m currently working at what I consider my second “first real job”, I’m going to talk about my first “first real job” as a marketing and sales rep. It was a three month internship/trial period with a company to see if I liked it. I was being paid on a salary and I had the 8 to 4 schedule, Mon-Friday. It was perfect, yet all wrong. The company is awesome, but the job was not right for me.
I don’t want to talk about that though. I want to tell you the things I learned while in that position. It was an awesome learning experience right after college and taught me so much about who I am, what I want, and how the “REAL WORLD” works. Here are 5 things everyone starting their first job should know.
1. Emotions are important, but it’s best to get rid of them.
I let my emotions rule my life during that three month time period. I read WAY too much into the things people said and how they said it. I took things to heart when I should have realized it was just business. Remove your emotions if you want to survive.
2. Take every criticism seriously.
There are crappy people out there. This we know. When you start your first job, there aren’t going to be professors that coddle you and give you feedback all the time. You have to rely on your own abilities and sense. It’s hard! I struggled because in college, I was an all-star, but when it came to the real world, I was like a child. I realized I wasn’t as smart as I thought. I felt foolish all the time, which leads me to my next point.
3. You’re going to fail.
And it may be huge. It will be embarrassing. You may think you’ll be fired (you probably won’t be). You’ll cry to your grandma, mother, brother, sister, and spouse. You might even think your career is OVER. It’s not. Failing sucks, but honestly, it’s the people who never fail that think they’re invincible and are horrid to work with. It’s good to be knocked down a few times because it’s all about the learning. Take the failure and use it to fuel your learning and career growth.
4. It will drive you crazy.
I don’t think anyone can disagree with this point. No matter how aligned your first job is with your career aspirations, it will be crazy. Whether it be transitioning from college hours to a 9 to 5 or being thrown into workplace drama, you’re going to feel mentally unstable. When I first started, I was exhausted all the time because I was learning a new routine and new rules/regulations/stuff college never taught me EVERY SINGLE DAY.
5. You’ll wonder why you went to college.
This may not be true for technical positions that need to learn actual skills, but for those liberal arts degree holders, you will feel jipped. You’ll realize that the degree only gets you the interview, and the on-the-job training is what helps you KEEP the job. We gotta do what we gotta do.
What did you learn from your first job? Are you still working there?