Don’t worry, your first job is not your last, thankfully!

I was talking to a colleague yesterday about past jobs that, simply put, were not our cup of tea. Most of us think immediately of retail jobs (I can’t count how many times I’ve heard from students about those food service jobs that are so disliked). While I can relate from my experience as a high school student working at a popular apparel store or my first professional job in the insurance industry, those jobs taught me a lot and I mean A LOT! So if you are a current student in a less than rewarding summer job or a recent grad in a job that is less than desirable, remember we were all there once and you can still get something out of it.

Whether you realize it or not, you are gaining skills. I can recall going into work each day at my client services insurance job preparing myself to be yelled at or asked a question that I simply had no idea how to answer. Was this difficult? Of course, but I learned how to deal with difficult situations – a skill that is utilized constantly in my current job. I learned how to think on the spot (though that’s still one I’m working on), how to counsel/calm someone down, and I built some character along the way. I am now extremely appreciative of the work and environment I am surrounded in as I recall on a weekly basis how I went from a job that wasn’t the greatest fit to a rewarding and fulfilling career.

So if you are in the first position – in the job that isn’t the best fit, make the best of it. Reflect on the transferrable skills you are building on each day and make sure those are articulated in your résumé. Think about what is missing from your job in order for you to be happier. Talk to you supervisor about your interests or projects that you could get involved in to help the organization. Network, network, network, and not just at fancy networking events. Talk to everyone you know about their jobs and careers and seek out information and advice. The best suggestion I received was from an aunt who told me that I should be a psychologist because I have a knack for analyzing people and making them feel better. Though I didn’t go in this direction, it did lead me to thinking about counseling and working with students which led me to apply to a master’s program. It’s funny how one minor conversation can lead to bigger thoughts and ideas.

Remember, if you are current student or recent grad, you have a long working life ahead. Many people will have several careers, not jobs, but actual career changes. You just don’t know where you will end up so hang in there, be positive, and make every moment count.


photo credit:

By Jennifer Grunwald
Jennifer Grunwald Career Consultant, School of Fine Arts Profile Picture