Advice to grads: Find a bad job.
May 17th, 2011
It’s graduation season and college students everywhere are obsessing over their next moves. I have just one piece of advice:
Go find a really bad job.
Before you break out in a cold sweat, hang with me. Here’s what you get in return:
A paycheck. A couple years ago a young man graduating from the college group at our church showed me his list of requirements for his first job. I was floored. From salary to location to the type of office, his requirements were way out of line. This is an extreme example of an all too common problem. Don’t expect to “have arrived” at your first job. Think of this as a starting point – a way to pay your dues and build a resume – and a way to stay out of your parents’ extra bedroom.
An opportunity to learn. There is so much to be learned as you enter the workforce. A “bad” job means fast track learning. When I look over my professional experience, the difficult and challenging opportunities were the ones that taught me the most.
Perspective. We’ve hired many students straight from school and there is often a common problem of lack of perspective. You don’t know a good opportunity until you’ve seen the flip side. Once you have a boss that requires you to work sixty hour weeks, you realize that forty hours isn’t all that bad. When you have a truly unreasonable employer, you’ll realize that someone with high standards is actually fair and challenging. Every student needs to see the real – and sometimes ugly – side of the professional world. You’ll be a much happier person throughout your career when you gain that perspective.
So happy career searching! Find a job. Learn from that job. Learn what you like, what you don’t like, and what motivates you. You’ll never find a “perfect” job, but you’ll come much closer when you have a full perspective.
What bad jobs have you had? And what did they teach you?