Does Your First Job Count?

By: Danny Sellers

Was 18 year old you different than 22 year old you? When you chose your major, did you really know what all it entailed? Did you take certain classes because “advisors” told you to rather than your heart? Do you know what you’re good at? Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z...

If you’re a normal person. All of those questions have kept you up at night--literally. Either because you’re cramming in a library or lying awake in bed. We go through exponential change in college and during the infancy of adulthood. Graduation season is upon us. People are walking across the stage happy, nervous, excited, prepared and unsure. I will never forget those last months of school my senior year. Seeing friends one by one getting job offers, and wondering when “my time” would come. I ended up being blessed enough to have a couple job opportunities by the time I graduated. While I felt like I was on the top of the world, I know some of my classmates were feeling the pressure or even a little bit of defeat because they did not have concrete plans by the time they got their diploma. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that the whole reason for going to college is to earn a living as soon as possible. But what I’ve learned in my short stint of adulting is that that first job probably won’t define you. Or be the last company you work for.

Spoiler Alert: If you just graduated and don’t have a job/concrete plans. Dont trip….(yet)

Have you ever had your eye on that one girl/guy for a while and finally meet them after creeping on 164 week old pictures on Instagram? You exchange numbers, go out for drinks, hang out a couple times and realize his/her breath stinks and you can’t stand their laugh? Well many people have these sentiments around their first job...

Your first job is going to still be the most important. That first chance to earn a paycheck for your day’s work will be the epicenter of your skillset. Fresh out of school, regardless of how smart you are there is a huge learning curve.

Spoiler Alert: Every company you go to is going to re-teach you how to conduct business anyway.

Life isn’t an air conditioned classroom. Real scenarios in your first job allow you to apply your infant arsenal of skills to build meaningful experience. It’s really going to tell you what you love to do and what you hate to do. Never before have you worked 40+ hours a week beyond a summer gig; so, spending the majority of your life in a building will tell you very quickly if you like something or not. Everything will go noticed (like a funny tweet with a horrible typo)--all the way down to the type of people you have to work with everyday. Most time you spend in class is a few hours a day. Imagine having to sit in a classroom 2-3 times that much, EVERY DAY. Could you see yourself doing that in your current studies? If the answer is “it’s gonna be a no from me dawg”, listen to your gut.

As a “grown up”, it is a lot harder to change gears than it is as a student. As a student (typically), expenses are fixed and settled for months at a time.You have a surplus amount of time on your hands to tackle multiple things. You don’t have other people directly relying on you like a kid or spouse. The only regret I have about college is not starting something like The Sellers Group while I was in school. I had so much time and so few responsibilities that I know I was selling myself short by only going through my routine and not venturing out to other passions of mine.

Many kids crossing that stage will barely want to go to work a year from now.... That in itself is very sad but honestly true. This may not apply to the majority, but I’d be willing to bet it’s at least a significant minority. I would also be willing to bet that if those kids really did chose their passion over a status, that their offer letter would have a different return address.

I said all that to say, don’t let a status or pressure of others dictate you signing on the dotted line. You will be far more successful choosing your dream before you are choosing a check.

If you just packed up your college apartment for the last time unsure about what’s next for you. Ask yourself a couple questions:

  • What would you do for free?
  • What do you do now during your free time?
  • What did you want to be when you were a kid, before society told you what was realistic?
  • What don’t you want your life to be 2,5,10, or 25 years from now?

So if plans aren’t made yet. Just look at this short time to make sure you’re getting it right. You will never have this time and leniency back. Many of your peers who committed a little bit too soon will probably wish they reflected a little more.

Your first job does matter, but your passion matters more. Do what you want to do and don’t second guess it. If you don’t, I promise you will look up a year from now salty on a Sunday night because tomorrow is Monday..



Photo Credit: Lee Chapman