Why I Left My First Job After College

The typical path to the American Dream: go to college, get a job. It’s tempting to take the first job offer so that you can check off your progress. But that’s not always the smartest or most fulfilling choice. I recently went through this experience and will share my reasons for leaving my first post-grad job.

Reason One: I envisioned filet mignon; I got a TV dinner.

Young and naïve recent college grad that I was, in my interview I believed my future boss when she said the proposal writing job could be tailored to meet my journalistic interests. I also had no questions prepared to ask her. It should have come as little surprise when, two months later, I was not writing the inspiring prose I envisioned, but performing robotic copying and pasting tasks. Make sure to ask specific questions at the interview, such as, “What will a typical day look like for me?” Come up with a set of goals you want to achieve at a job, and a set you want the company to meet.

Reason Two: I was more excited about the perks than the job.

I knew that being a technical writer wouldn’t provide the creative outlet I needed, but the excitement of accepting my first job offer got in the way. My first clue should have been when I was more excited for the celebratory dinner than my first day of work. I looked around and saw my boyfriend and friends getting hired, and thought that I needed to leave my summer job and jump on board the benefits train, too. Initially, I loved being able to talk about 401(k)s, but the novelty quickly wore off. Don’t let the bright lights of a paycheck and benefits derail your plans.

Reason Three: I just wasn’t happy.

I had been at my job for almost ten pay periods. Christmas was approaching, and while I was happy to have money, I started to worry that I was sacrificing all the time and effort I had put in during my four years at journalism school. It was around that time that an editor from a magazine contacted me, reminding me that she had liked my clips and let me know their spring internship had increased to 40 hours per week. I took off the next week, went in for the interview and was offered the job 30 minutes later. Seeing it as a sign, I gave my two weeks notice, and haven’t regretted anything (except the smaller paycheck) ever since. Be willing to take a lower-paying job if it will help you get where you want to go.

Parting Advice: Stash some cash.

If you’re in a situation like the one I was in, try to put money into a high-interest account that you can withdraw from at any time. That way you’ll have a cushion for when you get that dream job offer or internship that pays less than some of your past summer jobs.

Numerically speaking, switching to the job of your dreams will save you about 872 headaches and thousands of regrets. Taking the plunge has opened the door to many cool opportunities — I certainly don’t regret it.

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