Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Graduating from College means having to admit it's time you're entering the "Real World". However, that also comes with a slew of Adult responsibilities - and getting a J.O.B. is one of them. (How else do you ever plan to pay off those student loans?) One in ten people might find a job that will actually turn into a steady paying career gig that they will stick with until retirement (or their mid-life crisis), but for the other nine of us, we are often forced to take whatever jobs we can get in order to pay our bills and rent. Yes, it might not be the best job in the world, but every two weeks you get a paycheck that you can then turn into actual money to use for goods and services, and that's not so bad now, is it?

Some people think they are too good to take certain types of jobs like being an assistant to an assistant of an assistant or what basically amounts to a glorified intern. They seem to think that just because they have a degree (much just like the 10,000 other people sending in resumes to the same postings on, that they should be getting that Project Manager or Assistant VP position fresh out of college, and start off making $60,000-$80,000 a year. Hate to break it to you, but you need to pay your dues and put in your time first to get to that top rung. It doesn't happen overnight. You don't just walk into a company and magically get a position at 25 that people who are 45 have been working their asses off their whole adult life to get into.

So now that you've got your paycheck money, you've paid your rent and whatever utilities you feel important (no one really needs hot water, right?), you've got a little extra cash to go out and cavort with other twenty-somethings and collectively bitch about the grunt work you're doing at your low-paying, headache-inducing, straight-outta-college job:

"I tried to go on Facebook and it was blocked!"
"I can't just wear jeans and a t-shirt?"
"My boss wanted me to go get her coffee. There's no Starbucks around - she expected me to actually MAKE it myself!"

Look, you're on the bottom rung of the ladder - deal with it. No one said life was going to be easy. Hey! You should be lucky you even have a job after graduation to begin with. I mean, yeah, everyone needs to chance to vent about things in their life frustrating them - but we all had to start somewhere. Whether it's making copies or fetching coffee, no one becomes a CEO overnight. And bringing that attitude to the office isn't going to make it any better. It will reflect in your work as you sit at your desk, bored, answering phones in a monotone fit for AM radio.

Show some enthusiasm & initiative: Don't just wait to be given work, ask and see what you can do. Once your supervisors and bosses see that you are actively taking an interest in your tasks at hand, perhaps you will be looked at for bigger projects and be given more responsibilities. (Now you can take a 45 minute lunch instead of a 30!) Then you'll get more wiggle room to get away with things like taking personal phone calls or twittering during office hours or coming in late and hung over on a Friday. Remember, this is your first job and it certainly won't be your last. You're going to want to stay on people's good sides in order to get good references and recommendations if and when you decide to leave your current job for something better suited to your needs. (And your checking account) 


If you haven't found your niche in the Corporate sphere, fret not! Try not to worry too much about the now and focus on the bigger picture: where you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years. Try to find a job that is at least related to the field that you are interested in and one that will have a lot of room for learning, growth and eventually promotion. If you can get your foot in the door (even if it is sitting behind a phone bank or pushing a mail cart), then that is the first step to eventually getting that Senior VP or Project Manager job. A lot of companies prefer to promote within before hiring from the outside, and if you already know the ropes, then your odds are a lot better than someone they're going to blindly pluck from a pile of resumes.

Your job is what you make of it and one day, your career will make you. Until then, that's what happy hour is for.

1 comment:

  1. Happy hour for the win. This was a good post - so many people need to hear this in the worst way.