Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 419 - "Just Trust Us On This One"

I found an old issue of Cosmopolitan magazine today when I was cleaning up a few things in my bedroom and started flipping through it.  The article that caught my eye?  "Why You Shouldn't Hate Your First Job."

The article was written by someone who had gone to college, worked hard to get good grades, and had had an entry-level job that completely broke the I'm-starting-my-career bubble.  I wish I could find the article online, but that copy of the magazine was a couple of months old.  I'll keep looking, though.

The whole premise was that we young college grads shouldn't hate our first jobs right out of college because they are meant to be learning experiences, those "earning your street cred" type jobs that sometimes aren't anything more than a glorified internship with a salary.

Here's my counter argument to this article.  Don't get me wrong, I love my writing job, but it's that truly first job, the one I've been stuck at since high school and would probably quit in a heart beat, that has really had me grinding my teeth this past week.

Here it is - my top five reasons of "Why You Should Hate Your First Job."

5.  Given today's economy, it is just as likely for someone with, say, an education degree to be working at the local coffee shop as the local elementary school.  Just because it's a job doesn't necessarily validate all of those all-nighters we had, exams we crammed for, field hours we logged, and that crazy get up we wore at graduation.

4.  Student loans.  Not all post-college jobs are created equal.  Some will pay for loan payments, rent, and all of those other big kid expenses that tend to pile up.  Others will leave you wondering if you will have the money to put gas in your car to drive the six miles to an aggravatingly annoying job that you're more than overqualified for come Monday morning - and you haven't driven your car all weekend because of it.

3.  The Job Shuffle.  Like I talked about in my post on Day 365, we twenty-somethings change jobs a lot before we turn 30.  There's always the first job, but then we have the second first job, the third first job, the random gig in retail in between first jobs, and then there's THE first job that we may or may not stick with when we settle down, start families, or suddenly decide to go to graduate school and become GAs or TAs and get paid the same sized salary as our first first job.

2.  Relevance.  Like in reason five, more and more first jobs are completely irrelevant when compared to our degrees.  I have no desire whatsoever to pursue a career in training people how to make sandwiches and use crappy cash registers - or to deal with the drama of people who can't get over the fact that they screwed up and got in trouble for it.  Sorry for the tangent.

1.  Fulfillment.  I don't know about many other people my age, but I want to feel at least some sense of satisfaction with my first job.  I am not one of those people to have or do something just for the sake of having it; I want to know that I am doing something that I love and that I can share that love of what I'm doing with other people.  First jobs, or second first jobs or even third first jobs, don't always provide that - it's that "earn your street cred" mentality that sometimes leaves the college graduate making copies and the intern sitting in on important meetings.

Maybe I'm just slightly jaded, or maybe I've just had a bad week.  I can understand why you shouldn't hate your first job, but there are also plenty of reasons why you should.  That's why we twenty-somethings change jobs so many times, possibly?


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