When I left university I thought I would get a job, stay in that job for a few years and not even have to think about another one until I wanted to. With hindsight I laugh at myself then, because what I didn’t know is that it’s simply not the case.
From the examples I’d had in my life you worked in one place for a long time, people in my family had worked at the same place for over 10 years sometimes – they might have changed roles but they were with that company. The thing is, that didn’t seem to apply with me.
I’ve moved around a fair few times since graduating. For some, it was simply the fact that my position wasn’t needed anymore and so my contract ended, from others I wasn’t right for the role and let go and some were simply short term contract roles. In some of those I was miserable and leaving was the best thing I did…but when I was made to leave I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But, with the gift of hindsight I realised I actually learnt a lot.
Doing a good job is important but so are boundaries.
I’ve always been an overachiever, but I had to learn about boundaries. I would work and work and work way past what I should have been.
I needed to learn to separate my work life and my home life. To know that my job wasn’t my entire life (although this gets a little more difficult when you are working for yourself). I learnt that I work to live, not the other way around! It’s an important lesson.
Learning what I want and what I don’t in my personal and professional life
I learnt that I love the world of digital, have a passion for social and like to be creative. Traditional marketing methods never spoke to me short-term and instead of managing campaigns I wanted to be in the thick of it! I wanted to be writing, making, creating.
I also learnt that a 45-minute drive every morning and every night made me miserable, as did a rigid 9-5.30. That the corporate scene bored me and that I needed to enjoy what I was doing.
I have to look after my own health because other people won’t
In more than one of my jobs I felt that I had to hide any health issues I had, even mentioning the word stress was looked down upon. As if I couldn’t do my job.
When I worked late and gave my all, it wasn’t noticed or acknowledged but if I was overworked and got ill or wasn’t my ‘normal self’ it was pulled up. I had to learn the hard way I needed to look after myself because no one in the working world was going to.
Every time I got knocked down I got back up again vowing to do better next time. Once, after being told my job wasn’t going to exist anymore I cried, drove back to my home town and immediately got online and started contacting people who might know of some leads.
Did I cry when these happened? Of course, I did, I’m human! Did I have times where I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to give up, duh! Somehow I did it.
There are good people in every company, organisation, etc
Ultimately in every single job I’ve had I met wonderful people. People who I’ve stayed in touch with to varying degrees. No matter what there are good people in the world and that’s always a good thing to be reminded of.
What have previous jobs taught you? I’d love to know in the comments below!
One thought on “5 Things I’ve Gained From Jobs I’ve Had Since Graduating.”
Those are some pretty wonderful and insightful insights on graduating, finding work and working that many people can probably relate to. At least, I know I can; especially around finding that balance and not pushing myself. I found myself giving too much too, and trying to prove myself on the job while maxing out- in which case boundaries are as you said important. I also learned how to communicate better- that one was a big one for me, and a wonderful skill to cultivate; lastly how there is a noticeable difference from pursuing an education/academic world to the work world. Mainly, in that you are no longer just responsible for yourself or own education but when it comes to working, suddenly your responsibility is for the organization and the people working there as well. Huge ah-ha there!