Learnings from my first job
After graduating from college I started my 1st professional job with a company in Burbank, California. I accepted this job offer because it paid me $3,000 more than other job offers.
Lesson #1: Never base your decision on merely the salary. Always base your decision on the opportunity for learning and growth and the company culture.
I started with a cohort of 6 team members who were trained together. We spent many hours learning the new business, understanding the regulatory and compliance landscape, and the best part was when we stepped out for lunch as a team and sometimes the after work happy hours. The best memories were created during these special times. We would often frequent a Mexican restaurant down the street from the office. We would laugh, we would complain about our “tough boss”, we would share notes, and discuss our weekend plans with our families.
I remember a particular morning when I had just walked into the office. Our boss was screaming at our team…..yes, the old ineffective style of leadership. She told us we were all using the wrong files for our project, when in fact she had forgotten to share the updated file with us. The screaming and furrowing of the face became a norm for her, and our team was at the other end of receiving this.
I later learned that her husband was suffering from cancer and she was having a really tough time dealing with it, managing the care between her job and him.
Lesson #2: Never take anything personally. You never know what someone is dealing with in their life. I spent some one on one time with her to see how any of us could help. Perhaps we could review each other’s work before it came to her, and thus it would free up some of her time. That worked really well.
LESSON #3: There’s always a silver lining. Reviewing work gave me the experience of a manager and sharing ideas back and forth with others.
Then came the day when I received a wonderful job offer with an accounting firm, where I had always wanted to work. Remember LESSON #1? Yup! I took a paycut to start with my dream company. This time, I focused on learning about the company culture and the team I’d be part of. During the interview process, I asked many questions and came to the realization that the leadership team here was very kind, focused on growth, and exemplary client service. Yes, this was the kind of place I wanted to be part of.
I gave my resignation to the Burbank company and then shared it with my work group. Even though the job there had been a mixed bag of “not so great boss” and lots of work, I learned how to deal with people with different temperaments, and most importantly, I was walking away with great memories of a fun workplace. My eyes were moist as I hugged and said goodbye to everyone. We went for one last team meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
LESSON #4: It’s up to you to decide what the workplace feels like; it’s up to you to make it fun and not wait on others, regardless of what the overall company culture is. You can create a microcosm culture infused with fun and learning within your own little team.
My fondest memory is of our team traveling together to St . Louis, Missouri and going up to the famous Gateway Arch which stands at 630 feet height. We went up a noisy ride through the steel structure and took some amazing pictures of the skyline. When I look back and think of my job, I remember the good times with the team mates and the travels for training. Everything you do in life is an experience that adds to your life.
The new job turned out to be incredible. More about that in my next writing.