Your First Job Won't Be Your Dream Job

Workin’ Girl

What happens when you realize the reality of your first 9-5 falls short of your expectations?


This was the predicament I found myself in after six months of tweaking my resume and rewriting cover letters post-grad. I spent the greater part of undergrad working a part-time sales position, and after three years of working nights and weekends, the allure of a 9-5 held a high esteem in my head. Isn't this what being an adult was all about?

I'd gotten the degree and now the job, but months into the new role, the happiness hadn't clicked. I started to question my decisions. What do you do when you get what you asked for and it's not enough?

I knew I had two choices. I could either complain or dedicate that same energy to finding the silver lining. I went with option two and found ways to make the not-so-perfect job feel worth it. Here's what I did:

Find Passion Outside the Office

A common issue with entry-level jobs is feeling like the work doesn't align with your passions. Millenials are commonly termed the entitled generation and that's not completely false. When you spend four years working towards a degree, then enter a role that doesn't use the skills you cultivated, feeling underwhelmed is warranted. It's important to find ways to continue to harvest these skills. Use your free time after work to volunteer somewhere that needs your skills. You don't have to limit working in your passion to your day job.

Network, Network, Network

While a 5-9 is just as important as your 9-5, it's wise to take the time to get to know the people on your team. The work you're doing now many not seem like much but you can find an entirely new career path from a single conversation. Take a minute to learn the different roles your team members have and ask about everyone's professional background. Networking plays a big role when looking to get a foot in the door but it doesn't stop there. Keep that elevator pitch ready even while you're well into a role.

Seek More Responsibility

By getting to know your team, you start to narrow down what your next step should be. I took the time during my performance review to make it known that I could handle more work than what I was assigned. Word this carefully. You don't want to whine or sound like you're sitting at work twiddling your thumbs for hours. I expressed interest in a project a manager-level colleague was working on and asked to sit in on meetings to learn more. My boss loved my enthusiasm and gave me the green light. Use this time in your entry-level role to gain insight into as much of the business as possible.

Age Is Not A Limit

Being the youngest woman in an office can get annoying. You've become the dedicated tech problem solver and might have been called "sweetie" once or twice. There's nothing wrong with being young. I've learned not to take the exclamations at my age personally. You have the opportunity to be a sponge and absorb as much as you can. With that, you also have the freedom to leap in any direction you desire. Youth comes with ample opportunity and freedom, embrace it. If the only cost is being told you won't get the joke because it's "before your time," you're not doing too bad.

Your first job may not be everything you wished and that's okay. You have a chance to connect with professionals in your field during the work day and the freedom to explore other passions after 5 pm. Dedicate your energy to learning as much as you can and find more positive ways to spend your 9-5.

Sign up today and be the first to get notified on new updates, exclusive events, retreats and giveaways!

More Posts

If you've ever seen the classic African-American film, The Five Heartbeats, you know that the scene when the leading men get their dreams stolen by The (whitewashing, song-stealing) Five Horseman is a real-life tear jerker. Like in any movie based in that time period, it was made abundantly clear that black creatives had gotten the short end of the stick for decades. Before Elvis Presley, Little Richard was the crowned king of Rock & Roll. And before Moschino teamed up with Sephora, Raynell Steward, affectionately known as Supa Cent, created The Crayon Case.

Keep reading... Show less

On the morning of November 5, 2016 when I discovered Donald J. Trump would now be the leader of the free world, I, like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, was hurt in real life.

Keep reading... Show less

Heading off on vacation can mean more sex for couples or those looking for a getaway love with no strings attached. More than 50 percent of people say they are more likely to be intimate with their bae while on vacation than they are at home, and 12 percent of Americans are down to have a fling when they hit their destination. If you're not booed up or you're taking a trip without your love — that doesn't mean you can't still have a good time.

Keep reading... Show less

People often talk about how lonely it is at the top, but what they rarely talk about is how quiet it can be during the climb.

For Nichole Lynel however, it's a feeling she knows all too well. As we chat, the quietness that surrounds her while sitting on the floor awaiting movers to arrive at her old showroom serves only as a reminder of her own entrepreneurial journey. "Everybody is willing to help you when you're the underdog but when you have a chance of really succeeding, it gets a lot quieter," she revealed.

Keep reading... Show less

As I stood in a spread-eagle stance with a female TSA agent using the back of her hand to check my crotch for weapons, I thought to myself, What the hell? Even though I know she meant no harm and was only doing her job, my personal space felt violated. Since I had experienced this so many times in the past, I guess I never thought twice about it. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less

I'm an island girl at heart.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts