Relax. It's Your First Job.
Your first job. It’s been built up in your mind for a very long time. The mere concept elicits a wide range of emotions from excitement about being done with school and in the “real world” to utter panic because you’re done with school and in the “real world.” As a result of this dichotomy, soon-to-be college graduates feel incredible pressure, thinking everything they’ve done in school all the way from kindergarten up to college led to this critical milestone. The notion of a “first job” can send even the most confident accomplished student into utter panic. But I’m here to allay those concerns and try to bring some perspective and calm anxious nerves.
I propose to think of it this way…it’s only your 1st job. And since we all take comfort in statistics, a 2016 survey showed that 71% of people leave their first job within one year. Below are a few supporting points for realizing this and saving the anxiety for another life milestone, like getting your first apartment…
- It’s a process. It’s a journey. You are essentially at the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of your life. And the reality is that you will likely have multiple jobs in your career. Recent statistics reveal the American worker will hold between 10-15 jobs in their career. So then, this is the first of many.
- Think of it as an extended internship. Many new graduates enter the workforce with little work experience, not much more than an internship or two, which usually last about three months. Consider then that the recent graduate may start with about six months of experience. Not very much. Think of this as another internship. Treat it like your job.
- Learn learn learn. This first job is a great opportunity to see the good, the bad and the ugly about certain roles, jobs and even industries. Use them to your advantage to learn what you like and don’t like to inform future decisions. Knowing what makes you happy in a position is as important as knowing what makes you unhappy or you think you don’t on an ongoing basis. It’s true on-the-job experience.
- The first job is a fantastic opportunity to network. Connect with those at the job who inspire you. Who you respect. Who you want to emulate. Buy them lunch or a coffee and tap into their mind, their experience and even their network. Invite as many people as you can to connect on LinkedIn. So you’ll have them, their connections, and start to build an expansive network.
- You do have choices. You are in charge of your destiny. It’s actually ok if this first foray into the working world isn’t a good fit and you chose to leave. To me, that is the most empowering aspect. You can get a new job or new position if you aren’t happy. And I’m going to suggest an even more revolutionary notion...you can even make a career switch after your first job. I know tons of people who have successfully transitioned to a completely different area. Myself included.