After your graduation, one of the things that you immediately did was search for a job in an online job website or a classified ad. Like your fellow fresh graduates, you are exhilarated with the idea of having your first ever job and eventually, your first paycheck.
But only after you started working did you realize that your first job is totally different from how you envisioned it to be. Instead of applying what you’ve learned in college, you are spending your time running errands like photocopying, making coffee, and delivering mails for your boss.
Sandy H., holder of a degree in Journalism, experienced some first-job blues that you are having. After several interviews from different companies, she finally got hired by an advertising company and gave her a nice title of “Corporate Communications Expert.” Little did she know that that title is just a fancy way of saying that she is responsible for answering and making phone calls.
“I almost never left my office desk for 9 hours a day. I eat lunch at my desk and I even had to ask permission to use the restroom. And if that’s not bad enough, every day I receive 2 or 3 calls coming from angry and rude clients.”
Like Sandy, there is a huge chance that most of the fresh-graduates might end up in a not-so-good first job. Here are the 4 First Job Blues that fresh-graduates usually encounter during their first jobs, followed by some tips on how to overcome them.
1. “I Went to college to operate a photocopy machine?!”
During my first six months of working as an editorial assistant for an advertising company, all I ever did was make coffee for the editors in the morning and photocopy hundreds of pages of paper until 5pm. I even forced myself to learn how to fix the machine when it jams. (In fact, I was the only one who could fix the darn thing. Which is probably why they didn’t fire me.)
It was really frustrating. You tend to ask yourself “I bled my way out of college just to operate a photocopy machine?” I even had thoughts of quitting my work.
Until one day, one of the editors asked me to write a special report on Internet Marketing, which served as the starting point for the things to come. The lesson here is that you should be patient. Remember that you are just a newbie in the company and your boss is still trying to know if you are the one for the job. If your boss cannot trust you with the small jobs, then he will never trust you with the big ones.
2.I feel that I’m in the wrong job
As said earlier, not everyone gets to have the perfect first job. In fact, the majority of new grads land a job that is either low paying or totally different from the field of expertise. So don’t worry, you are not alone.
There are many reasons why you feel that way about your job (low paying, too demanding, dead-end, etc.) But the good news is, there are ways you can turn things around. If your issue is about the salary, you may talk to your boss and re-negotiate with the terms and conditions of your contract (after your first contract ends, of course.) If your boss refuses, then you should start looking for a higher paying job.
On the other hand, if your issue is with the work itself, then you might want to re-evaluate the situation first. Most of the time, the reason why people are unhappy about their work is because they do not really like what they are doing. If that’s the case, then you should go look for work that suits your skills and personality.
3. Nobody knows me here
Part of the challenge of working in a new environment is trying to get along with your new co-workers. You feel like an owl thrown in a group of monkeys. While it is pretty unusual for people to give newcomers a cold shoulder, it does not mean that they are willing to break the ice as well. They may be just as shy as you are.
The best thing that you can do on your first day is to initiate the talk to your new co-workers. Tell them that you are new and ask them things about the work and the company. Don’t eat lunch at your desk, instead have it inside the cafeteria to have the chance to chat with your co-workers.
Moreover, establishing connections is very important in one’s career. Who knows, your present co-worker now may become the next supervisor of the company, and it is most favorable if you are in good terms with that person.
4. This is The End of My Career
Having a terrible first job may be depressing to some people, leading them to believe that their entire career is bound to go down the dumps as well, which is never true, of course.
Whether your first job is a good or a terrible one, remember that what you’re doing is only a job. What’s more important is that you utilize your first job experiences to gain that career that you’ve always wanted. Remember that your first job is only a pebble compared to the horizons of opportunities that lies ahead. Take advantage of the fact that you are still young. Use your youthfulness to learn new stuff. Ultimately, the power to turn your dreams into reality lies in your hands.
Contributed by Jillan Mullin who is a part-time contributor for rushessay.com and a guitarist for the band “The Limevisuals.” She is currently taking up her M.A in History at University of California – Berkeley.