I don’t think you need to worry about your first job or internship being perfect. I don’t think it needs to be the thing you really want to do, the place you want to spend your life, or the people you want to continue life with, all at the same time first time around. What I do believe is that you need to do something. If you’re like me and your studies required work experience, this is even more relevant. Maybe compare your career to relationships – it’s not likely you’ll land on “the one” first time around. You gain experience and learn about yourself and the world around you each time.
As long as you take a position for a reason, perhaps with a goal in mind of something to learn, you’ll come out better for it.
Things you can learn or gain from a workplace (even if it isn’t “the one”):
1. A new software or tool
At what I thought was going to be a long-term job for me, I learned WordPress and Shopify which are now the foundations of what I do. Whatever field you’re working in, you uses tools of some sort. Those are valuable to learn. Picking up a new application or tool is a great skill to learn that you can apply to any future positions.
2. A new skill
You might learn a new aspect of your chosen field. For me, I picked up web development when previously I’d been set on design only. You never know which skills or fields you’ll end up enjoying until you try them. This is especially fantastic if your workplace is offering you free training on the job. Snap up the opportunity to grow!
3. Methods and structures from their perspective
Things like which software is used to streamline business, client journeys or processes, or perhaps a design thinking tool. Later you can compare these to how other businesses do similar tasks and maybe even develop your own improved ways. Of course, do not disclose any private or privileged information.
4. Connections and new friends
Networking doesn’t stop when you start a permanent role in many fields, especially the creative ones. Get to know your workmates. You might make a life-long friend, meet a future business partner, or help each other grow by sharing knowledge. Conversations can lead to all sorts of outcomes that can help you and your colleagues.
5. New knowledge of different subjects
With the example of design, clients come for say a website and branding. They could be running any kind of business. By designing for clients in many different industries, you’re exposed to information about many new things going on around you. Maybe one of these things sparks your interest and you discover a new path from it, you never know.
6. A new opportunity
Perhaps through a colleague at this job – an opportunity presents itself that you just can’t turn down. Many workplaces offer training, courses, travel, and other benefits that you can use to grow. Whatever opportunities lie ahead for you, be open and receptive to growth. Make the most of every situation.
After working a few jobs and gaining experience, plenty of us find a passion. That passion may be a great business opportunity. Becoming a business owner, or self-employed person, comes with a lot of added responsibility. But the value of moulding your career into your life on your terms can be exponential.