My friend Mike Defilippis decided to call me out on his under construction website for not writing a post since February 7th. Since he’s about to graduate and I took the jump into the real world 4 months ago, I decided to write this post in his honor. Below are 4 things I learned in my 4 months after graduation.
- The most important thing at your first job is the people who you work with: I’ve spoken with folks who had really interesting positions at the same time I graduated in January, but later confided in me that their boss was a douche. I saw someone else face a shitstorm of negativity from their boss when they left their job to work at another company. Follow the people first, then the company and role. You want to work for managers and with peers who will empower you to succeed and make you bring your A-game. You’ll go farther that way.
- Internship experience != job experience: Even if you had amazing opportunities, being somewhere for three months is a much different experience than knowing you’ll be somewhere for a longer time. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you’ll understand this better after your first couple of months working. There’s no beginning, middle or end. Just a long beginning and an abrupt end.
- Executing on the operational stuff is such an important part of your first job (and probably every job): It’s the boring stuff you probably wish you didn’t have to do, but it’s these operational tasks (i.e. the grunt work) that let you get to the awesome work that made you take your gig in the first place. As a millennial, I think we all feel entitled and above the mundane, mindless work, but it’s a part of any role. It’s been a part of work since the dawn of time. Your friends may lie to you and say they never have to “take out the trash” (metaphorically speaking), but their probably doing the same shit you are. And, from what I’ve seen, they don’t talk about the stuff they don’t like or how much they really hate their job, until they have one foot out the door and into their next opportunity.
- Even if you’ve done everything right in college, you’ve only been prepared to land the job; you haven’t been prepared for what to expect next: This is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned. College can, at it’s best prepare you to get a job, but it cannot prepare you for the actual expectations of the real world. The jump from high school to college is a lot more seamless than from college to work. There’s no real way to prepare for what’s coming next.
I’m sure I’ll learn more as time goes on, but these 4 are the ones that stick out at this moment. Good luck graduating!