Since the last time you all “heard” from me I was an unemployed night owl, addicted to Candy Crush and sulking.
Good news… I GOT A JOB! A real-life, in my field, putting-my-degree-to-work, full-time, salaried-with-benefits, I’m-a-big-girl-now, job. Ten months post graduation and I am excited, relieved and a bit scared, to be honest, to have finally launched my career. I will be working from now until retirement! And before I get hit with the, “if you do something you love it will never feel like work” hoopla, work is work. Period. There will be no more sitting around for 4 weeks between semesters or days off for midterms. It’s all about PTO and floating holidays now. Taking time when I need it and not because it’s given to me.
Eighty-six weeks ago, which was long before I was even on the homestretch to graduating, I read a post from the famous Humans of New York (HONY) Instagram page. The curator of HONY interviews and photographs strangers, primarily in New York, and releases little snippets of their lives to the world. When I first came across this post, it resonated with me because I knew that one day I would be in that woman’s shoes. I had always told myself that if I had to work full time, I wanted to it be X, Y, and Z. Sometimes people thought I was crazy for wanting my first job to be a perfect fit. I was told you work up to your perfect fit, you don’t land there on your first try. I’m naturally a pessimistic person (I’m working on it), so I began believing what they said and it made me really sad.
The first job that was offered to me post graduation, I declined. I knew that I needed a job but also knew that I would only be accepting the position because getting one was expected of me. Some friends and family were shocked that I made that decision, telling me I should have just accepted the position while I looked for something better. It was the only job offer that I received other than the one that I’ve recently accepted. Months passed and I would doubt whether I had made the right decision (I know now that I did). I started applying to places that I liked and wouldn’t mind working for because, “yes, the company did nice work, but the building was beautiful.” I applied to places that were “out of my league”. If I was giving up 40+ hours a week to some place, I wanted to like it. The interiors had to be nice along with the work and the people (and the pay, lets be real). I did not want to settle. I was literally the woman in the HONY post.
I realized that having not committed to that position gave me the chance to explore other opportunities, which I believe is what helped me land where I am today. Sure I didn’t have a full time job for nearly a year, but I was able to intern at a well known agency all summer, met some amazing people, toured several awesome agencies, and got an insider’s look on what I could expect when entering the work force. I’d say not accepting that first position allowed me to realize that my career wish list wasn’t that far fetched at all.
Fast forward to today. I’ve only been working for a few weeks now, but I am still excited about going in to work everyday. My coworkers are all pretty awesome. I look forward to working with and getting to know them. I even joined them for happy hour on the Friday of my first week. That’s a big step for me because, frankly, I don’t like hanging out with strangers (or bars/club-like places or alcohol).
I feel so thankful to have run across that Instagram post, which stuck with me. Although so much happened between the day I favorited the post and today, it was a whisper in the back of my head loud enough to hear. It’s been an interesting journey but I’m glad that I pushed through and landed with a company that I am genuinely excited to be a part of. For anyone going through something similar, keep pushing. It may take a while, but if you can hold out, do so. It will all be worth it.
What advice would you give someone who is looking for a job, whether for the first or millionth time? Lets continue the conversation in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.