If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what my plans were for after graduation, I’d say my plan would be to keep getting people to ask that because the money is rolling in. But in reality, during my senior year at Villanova, I didn’t have an answer to that question for a while. Here’s the quick story and why it pays to take the right job, not just any job…
I had my first real job interview in March. That turned into a second interview and eventually a third where the company actually paid for me to travel to their offices. (They do that?!?!) Not 20 minutes after I left the third interview, I got a phone call from one of the CEOs offering me a sales job at their marketing firm.
Upon first examination, absolutely. I wasn’t even finished with school and already a company was trying to snatch me up. I called my parents to tell them the good news, emailed a mentor or two and texted my friends. But when they all inevitably asked the same questions—What kind of company is it? What will you be doing?—I was again rendered without answer.
No matter how many questions i asked or how much research I did, I couldn’t really put my finger on what the company was all about, let alone did. For a little while I thought maybe it was just me being green. But when none of my trusted, experienced confidantes could figure it out either, that’s when I realized something didn’t quite feel right.
Would it have been easier to just say yes, sign on the dotted line, and coast through the last few weeks of my senior year wrapped in the security blanket of a job waiting for me after the last notes of Pomp and Circumstance wrapped? Heck yeah. But actually liking and knowing where I’d be going and what I’d be doing after graduation was a lot more important to me than being able to answer people when they asked me what I’d be doing come June.
I definitely didn’t come to this conclusion easily, quickly, or on my own. It almost felt like I was being foolish, not jumping at a job offer when so many of my peers were having a hard time even landing an interview. Who was I to be picky? My dad put it best: by being picky, I wasn’t being reckless; it was just the opposite. I was being responsible. I wasn’t throwing myself into a job just for the sake of employment. “Of what use are you to your employer if you hate going to the office every day?” said dad.
No, a first job fresh out of college doesn’t have to be (and probably won’t be) the dream job. And of course it doesn’t last forever, especially in PR. What I couldn’t justify, though, was taking a job I didn’t even understand and missing out on some potentially phenomenal opportunities more suited to what I wanted to do down the road.
So I said no. It was one of the scariest emails I’ve ever sent. Never in my life, though, have I ever felt so relieved, and that’s how I knew I had made the right choice. Even though I was headed back to the drawing board, it was empowering to say no because I said no for the right reasons. It reaffirmed in me that the rightjob was out there, not just any job.
Thanks to a great alma mater backing me up and some wonderful mentors in the industry I’m lucky to have in my corner, I was able to nail down a three-month internship at a healthcare PR firm right here in Philly. This internship, however, was cut short because, lo and behold, it was a perfect fit and they made me a full-time offer. I had captured the right job.
So as I write this, my new email signature reads “Account Coordinator” and I couldn’t be happier. What’s that quote about never working a day in your life if you choose a job you love? It’s cheesy, sure, but I’m starting to understand its truth. It’s totally OK to be picky, and with a little patience and willingness to ask for help, the right first job—not just a first job—is out there.
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