Has anyone read this article from the New York Times- “Just Graduated and Fumbling Through a First Job”? It caught my eye on twitter the other day because even though I’m 4 internships and 2 full time jobs into my “career” at this point, each of the positions I’ve had, while related, has felt like starting over to some degree. I definitely still feel like I’m “fumbling” from time to time. Basically the article interviews several successful, established adults about their first jobs and and what mistakes they may have made or how workplace dynamics have changed so much recently. I just think it’s an interesting article, and I can definitely relate to many of the points.
For my own two cents, I’m so glad to have had so many internship experiences before beginning full time work. While there is always a new skill set to learn with any new job, I think that interning really helped me to transition into the workplace. I learned A LOT during my various internships, and I’m grateful that I chose to explore several different career options through these less permanent opportunities. One of the most important lessons I learned through interning is that real work has to be your best quality all the time. Sometimes in school, I’m afraid I fell into the trap of, I’m already doing well in the class, it will be ok if I get a B on this one assignment. In the real world, or at least in the positions I’ve held, that really isn’t an acceptable perspective. No, not everything has to be 100% perfect all the time, but it’s much more important to give assignments the attention to detail and quality that they deserve. First, someone is paying you to complete this task, and second, you never know how far up the ladder this assignment may go, is your boss going to see this? Is your bosses boss? I think that it really pushed me in the direction of my current, and hopefully future career. That being said, I’ve had a different job every year since graduation, so I still feel like I’m flailing on a pretty regular basis.
What do you guys think? Have your first jobs or current jobs taught you any important lessons about the work force? If you could go back and re-do your first job, what changes would you make?