I'm today in my first job, and I'm uncertain if it's right for me.

I have just finished my bachelor of science degree in marketing i in early july an accepted a job-offer the month before. I have been working there on month, before we had a month off (I'm from Norway). There are some parts about the place I like, like my managers and the company potential. However, I am not inspired my work responsibilities or my peers.

My question is this;
S[i]hould I look for new territory, or hold my position and hope things are getting better?[/i]

Feel free to ask background questions as well.

(If this topic is discussed elsewhere, feel free to create a link or move this post)

jhack's picture

Not knowing all the details....

I say hang in there for now. Work isn't always great. It may take a while to figure out how you can have an impact so that your work inspires you. This is not unusual.

Some things you can do specifically:

- Focus on accomplishments, even if the work to get them done is drudgery. "I dug the ditch...time to celebrate" Know that you're getting things done.
- Remember, you like your managers and the company!
- You're unlikely to find "inspiration" in any entry level position.
- Think big. Understand the entire department, its role, how it supports others, how it aligns with the company. Pretend this is a strategy consulting job, and you're trying to figure out the big picture. Do this on the side, something to think about. It will help you understand why you need to do what you're doing (someone has to do it!) and where you'd like to go in the field.
- When you know your personal path better, your inspiration will come from within.
- You don't have to be friends with your co-workers. Be professional, have good relationships. It'll be fine.

Some longer term stuff to think about:
- Do you like marketing, now that you're doing it? many people find their careers outside of their college major. you'll always be able to use marketing whatever you do.
- If you'd rather be doing your boss' job (or what you imagine it to be!) then you have to do a great job where you're at to put yourself in a position to be promoted.
- Network. Take time to build your network so that if you decide this is not your right position, you're much better situated to find a position that is a good fit. The Networking podcast is great.


rthibode's picture

Magnus, I agree with John.

In your very first job, it's unlikely that you'll be able to do something that truly inspires you. I believe you should focus on doing your very best and learning as much as you can. Plan to stay a couple of years. During that time, build your resume and network as much as you can. Make sure you have people who will give you stellar references when you leave.

Finally, if your job is not providing all the challenge you need, consider devoting some time to volunteer work. If you choose a smaller organization, it's likely that your education and skills will be enough to move quickly into a position that helps you develop leadership skills. When I was still an undergraduate, I began volunteering for a small grassroots organisation and was quickly "promoted" because the need was so great. I was able to lead projects, chair committees, train other volunteers, and so on. The organization nurtured my development and I stayed for 7 years. It was the best leadership development I'd ever received until I found Manager Tools.

Good luck, and I hope you'll let us know how you're doing.

bflynn's picture

Unless it just rankles you to go to work, don't be concerned. This is not your job for the rest of your life. This is your first job. You don't necessarily get to do what you love straight out of school.

Keep a positive attitude and be sure to excel. Even when a situation seems to be all bad, work extra hard to find the good. You need the positive attitude so you can deliver results. Do this and in a year or two, you will have your ammunition to consider a jump to another (better) situation.


corinag's picture

Let me add my two cents: I've had a few jobs in which I wasn't inspired, especially my first one, but I stuck to them for about a year, at least, nevertheless, and it has been the right option.

The fact that you like the company and the managers is something you can use to make your experience more profitable: learn to understand the culture, analyze their styles, talk to them about their careers. You can probably seek opportunities for lateral growth, discuss about shadowing people in another department for a day or two to understand them and the product better. The first job is also about exploring your "fit" to the field you're in itself.

I did a 90 degree turn (meaning I adjusted my view of things I wanted to do and the type of organization i wanted to do them for) after my first job, and that is because I took the time to understand what it was that bothered me about the companies, and how I could still perform well under the circumstances. I think that in the beginning of your career bad fits can be as useful as good one, because you're pushed to do more in order to find satisfaction in your job.

Stepping back a little, it may simply be that for the first month (you did say you were only there for one, right?) you weren't given that many challenges, because you still need to learn about the company and its work, and routine tasks were safer, and not routine to you. And in time,you may find your job will become more interesting, as people know you and trust you more. Here in Romania, that's pretty much what happens. I don't know whether the Scandinavian way of working is similar.

thaGUma's picture

Magnus, I can only reiterate what others are saying. Hang in there. This might be simply a reaction to the work environment! You made a decision to work with the company. This is your first job, you are going to pick up lots of skills that make you more useful in your next job.

My wife had exactly the same reaction on her first job. The only reason she went back for the second day was because she had several dictionaries at work. Couple of years later and I had to give up my job to follow her move to another area.

Let us know how things go. Good luck.


James Gutherson's picture

Velkommen Magnus!

Take the time to learn - Look around for people you admire and take the time to watch and learn. There is a great deal that goes on behind the technical stuff you learned in school and this is what you will need to learn to move ahead.
I'm still learning this the hard way after an Engineering Degree and an MBA - as Mark says (Horstmans Law No 1) "It's [size=18][b]ALL[/b][/size] about People".

magnus's picture

Hey everyone!

First of all, I would like to start by expressing my appreciation for all the advice.

Family members and some of my mentor/friends/personal career advisers believe that it does rankle me to go to work. It didn't use to be like this, i am usually the first in the office, and in the past I have couldn't wait for the weekend to be over to get back.

While being in the company I am now I have been requested by Dell Inc. to send them an application because of my previous dealings with them through the student society. The same request has been made by HP Norway. However, both positions mean I have to move.

I haven’t sent the application yet. The reason is that there are some people here I can learn a lot from, as many of you point out.

At the same time I have started making a list of organizations where I can get the management experience I need. The number of organizations possible is high enough, and with my previous experience.

I have decided to apply for the position at Dell Inc. and if I get an offer, I will consider it then.