The Importance of the First Job

In this post we’ll discuss how your first job is important, not just in and of itself but for your future.

4492973490_521066532b_mWhy is your first job out of school important? The simple answer: because it pays. It provides the money you need for food, shelter, and (if there’s any left) fun. It means you don’t have to move back in with your parents, and it means if you pass a coffee shop and you want a latte, well then doggone-it, you can buy a latte!

The more abstract answer: because without a first job, it’s harder to get a second job, and not just because of the numerical logistics (there is no second thing without a first thing). If you haven’t worked in an office-y place, it makes it harder to get an office-y job.

Just check out the in this Wall Street Journal article; according to the work carried out by researchers from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the University of Vienna, and the Munich School of Management, it’s way harder to get any attention from big companies if you’ve been self-employed than it is with a corporate job. So wait, employers like candidates who have experience in environments similar to their own?! What a wild surprise!

But seriously, what this means for you as a job seeker is that it’s important to get SOMETHING. Maybe it’s something entry-level or maybe it’s not the exactly the position you want. It doesn’t matter. Experience is experience, and you’re need every bit of it you can get if you want to land your actual dream job some day.

That goes the same even for people like me, whose dream job is to be self-employed. Even as your own boss, you still need to be able to understand and work with clients or agents or lawyers or any number of other people from the world of organized business. Otherwise, you won’t be able to provide them with the service they need or, worse, you’ll get cheated.

Think about it this way: with lots of recent real job experience, the choice is yours; you can get another job, or you can break off from the herd. Without as much real job experience, as research shows, your options are fewer. You might want to work for yourself, but you never want to be the only person who’ll hire you.

How important is the first job for you? Will you take anything you can get or do you have some deal-breakers? Let us know in the comments!

(photo by Flickr user Mark Hillary used under a Creative Commons License.)

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