Three Lessons I Learned From My First Job

Knowing these at younger days would save you from stress

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

“That’s it,” I said to myself after failing 40 interviews. I decided to leave Bangalore to try for Govt jobs one more time. My last interview was mediocre, and I was sure that I had no hope of receiving an offer. It was time to say, “Adios, Bangalore.” But life took another turn, and I got an offer from JPMorgan the night before my train to leave the city. Everyone convinced me to accept the offer, and my journey with that company continues to date, after 16 years.

Why I was not happy with my first job?

From the second day of my first job, everything went downhill. I found the training boring as I had to learn a new system and a process. It was an arduous effort to follow the guidelines. By the time I had my second salary, it was clear this job was not for me. I started finding excuses to escape the office, including calling in sick when I was physically fit. Stress from work crept into my personal life as I kept thinking about improving the situation. After an unbearable six months, I quit without having another job on the horizon.

I was overconfident that having a master’s degree from a reputed university would be hard for prospective employers to resist. Reality bit me hard and soon. I toured multiple cities and met at least 80 interviewers in five months. I could not get a job offer! There were days I could not afford more than a meal. My parents’ health deteriorated as I added the worry of my career to their lives. My friends were extremely kind to help me get interviews. Nothing was working.

My 41st application clicked and changed my life.

Lessons from those stressful days:

A) Share Your Problem:

I kept all my issues, worries, and anxieties to myself. I did not want to burden my friends to resolve my problems, as everyone has their own. Some of my friends were angry when they heard I left the previous job without even mentioning it once. When you share your problems, two things happen. First, you get emotional relief, and second, you may get solutions that you had not considered. If I had shared my problem, I would have stayed longer in the job until I got a new role.

“A problem shared is a problem halved.” ― German Proverb

B) Embrace challenges with positivity:

There is no life without a challenge. We fail, learn and then move on. So, when there is a problem, pause for a moment to analyze the situation. What are the ways you can solve it? What is the optimum option? If that does not work, what is Plan B? Reflecting on problems shows you different paths and prevents impulsiveness. I could have shared my challenges with my senior in the team, and they might have given me ways to cope with it.

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”― Roy T. Bennett, Author

C) Be grateful for the job you have:

While growing up, I knew several unemployed people in my community who had to try for more than five years to get their first job. All they wanted was a job — any job — irrespective of the salary. I had a good job and a decent salary which I just threw away without realizing what it would be like to experience their hardships. I never tried hard to save it. Put yourself in other’s shoes to appreciate what you have.

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ― Charles Dickens

Transitioning from a college to a corporate can be daunting. It’s a life-changing experience. With any challenge comes pain. Pain comes from growth as well. If you are going through this pain, applying these three learnings would provide you options to consider. Don’t underestimate your ability to navigate issues and remember that you are not alone.

If you want to discuss challenges in your current job, please DM me on LinkedIn.



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Mitadru is a Financial Services Executive and a pro bono career coach who writes about strategies to better manage career and life.