I’ve been at my current job for about a year and a half now and I’ve realized there is something to be gained in an entry-level job like this.And I think every college graduate can learn something from their right-out-of-college type of role. When we graduate, we all expect to enter a company or organization at the top of our game, just as we feel we left college. We do start at the bottom and it sucks.
But what can you gain from this type of entry level job?
1) Learning how to speak up.
Maybe everyone has this ability by high school. But based on what I’ve seen so far, since I started working out of high school, I don’t think everyone does. It wasn’t until this company in particular that I started gaining more confidence in myself to speak up, voice my opinion and start drawing boundaries on what is expected of me and what I can actually give.
It wasn’t really because I was so inspired by some “mentor” who “guided” me in this company. It was because I wanted my voice heard and the speaking up started to happen. It isn’t like I didn’t do it before, but I am beginning to do it with much more ease now and it is starting to come much more naturally than it ever has before.
2) Your opinions and ideas matter. But you need to own them.
You know that moment where you have a brilliant idea, but you are too nervous to share it with the department, so you share it with a coworker? Who then ends up sharing your idea with the department and taking all the credit?
Yup, I’ve been there and I’m still trying to figure out who is safe to share my ideas and opinions with. I’ve learned though that the best person to share ideas with is your supervisor, but best of all, share them in a department meeting. It takes a lot of guts to speak up in a meeting, but I’ve learned how to do this, too. And I don’t even have a loud voice. You may think it’s better off not to speak up or it’s too nerve-wracking too, but I can promise you at least one other person in the room will appreciate it.
3) You get to know what you want.
One of the things I’ve gained from my current position is knowing the type of career I want and staying focused on that career path. It may seem like you are taking a job that moves you away from what you want to do, but sometimes it’s the side roads that get you closer to where you want to be.
What have you gained from entry level work? What advice can you give about what you learned?