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.
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.
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.
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.
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.