6 Truths and a Lie About Your First Job



Sep. 11 2014, Published 3:25 a.m. ET

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If you’re a recent graduate looking for a job, you fully understand the frustration and disappointment that comes with being unemployed. This is why you may have unrealistic expectations about your first job or may not even know quite what to expect. However, as exciting as it is to land a job, the truth is that it may not be everything you have dreamed of.

While there are many opportunities to find your niche and capitalize on it, you likely will not be the thought leader in your industry with your first job.  So, before your first day, read these six truths (and one lie) that will help you to know what to expect from your first job.

You Will Work More Than 40 Hours Each Week

If you just landed a 9-5, expect to be working more than 40 hours. Depending on your position, you may need to get to the office early or work late into the night to get your job done. While this can be tiring, frustrating and just plain unfair, it’s a fact of life and a truth about your first job. However, your dedication can often bring new opportunities, either at your current job or the next one you land.

You Will Be Doing Things You’re Not Qualified For

In your first “real” job, you will be asked to do a lot of different tasks, many of which you will have no prior experience with. While at first this may feel overwhelming, this first-job-truth can only benefit you, adding to your work experience and making you a more marketable candidate for future jobs.

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You Will Be Doing Things You’re Too Qualified For

One of the harsh realities that almost everyone faces at their first job is mindless, menial work. Whether it’s making copies, making coffee or doing data entry, chances are you’ll be asked to do something that’s beneath your skill-set. However, these mind-numbing tasks can be your first stepping-stone in your career to landing a more meaningful and fulfilling position.

It Will Validate You

Even if you end up hating your first job, in some way it will validate you. Whether it’s the experience you’re gaining, the rent it helps you afford or just the pride you feel from being employed, the sense of accomplishment you will feel from landing your first real job is something to savor.

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You Will Have A Much Earlier Bed-Time

While you may not at first, the unfortunate truth is that your first job will eventually tire you out. Between your daily commute, long hours of work and meeting after meeting, you will start to think of sleep as less of a luxury and more of a necessity. So while you may be used to late nights spent with friends and an open bar tab, your new job will have you tucking in early, way before last call.

Your First Job Will Be Your Dream-Job

While it may be a resume-booster and help you pay back your student loans, your first job will not be your dream job. It may be beneath your potential or have nothing to do with your college major and it may even be boring. However, it will help you figure out what you want out of future jobs until you find one that you love.

It Will Change Your Perspective, Career-Path and Ultimately Your Life

Whether you love your first job or can’t wait to give your two weeks notice, your first real job will play a huge part in shaping your future. It will help you define your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and ultimately help define your future.

Starting your first real job will put you in many new situations and provide you with lots of different experiences. With so many unknown factors about your first job, getting insight into how life will change once you sign your first offer letter will no doubt make your transition to the real-world much easier. So whether it’s a new paycheck or an earlier bed-time, knowing what to expect from your first job is truly invaluable.

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