My First REAL Job

This is about the experiences I've had as a college student making my way into the full-time working world.

Monday, February 27, 2006

My Parents Think it's Better Than Christmas

The moment I found out about my new job I called my both of my parents. I expected they would be happy with the fact that I could finally support myself without their help. I didn't expect them to be as overly ecstatic as they were and still are, weeks later.

My mom told me she felt like "my getting a job that I could enjoy" was better than Christmas. She had been worrying for a long time that I might end up in a position I couldn't enjoy, or that I might get stuck mixing paint at my part-time job at a home-improvement store. Before she hung up she said with joy that she would be calling my grandpa right afterwards to tell him the good news.

My dad wasn't quite as emotional as my mom had been, but I could tell it was the best news I had given him in a long time. All he had heard about for the last two years was how I didn't know what I wanted to do and that I was worried I would never find something I could enjoy. My full-time job also ended his worry about health insurance. When my classload was cut down to one this semester I was cut off of his plan.

It's a great feeling to have both of my parents proud of me, but I also felt a lot of pressure about my job. Now I need to do well, make more money, and stick with it. I have a history of getting bored with a job and trying something new after a short time. I'm fairly certain that won't happen in this case because it's something I've been working towards these last four years in college.

I don't know if this has happened to anyone else, but I am being checked up on more frequently than before I started the job. They call asking how my day was, what I learned, and if I still like it. I guess it will take time to show my parents that I can stick with a job.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

How It Happened

I hadn’t planned on starting a full-time job until at least May, so I was totally unprepared when Tony, the owner of a local art gallery and design studio, offered me a full-time position as a gallery assistant. I didn’t know what kind of salary to ask for or if the benefits were good. All I focused on was the fact that it was a job related to my major, and I felt grateful to have it. I know that many times students can’t find a position related to their major, so they have to settle for what’s available. Without much thought or hesitation I accepted a job that I wasn’t sure I really wanted in the long run.

For the last two years I’ve been really unsure about what I want to do once I finally graduate. I’m figuring out there’s no sure way to know if you’re going to truly enjoy a profession until you’ve spent a long time doing it. A student can learn the basics and work the internships, but taking on full-time responsibilities puts the profession in a whole new light. The position I’ve taken at the gallery involves two kinds of work I’ve been interested in, interior design and website production. The reason I’ve taken on a full-time position so suddenly before graduation is that it sort of fell right in my lap.

I was working in the wall coverings department at a home improvement store one Saturday when I received a huge order of paint to mix. While I was working on the order I was also chatting with the customer whose paint I was mixing. He asked about my major and where I went to school, and when I said my college and art major he suddenly lit up. It turned out he'd graduated from the same college and had been an art major. We kept talking and discovered that he’d also run track like myself, and he is still very good friends with our coach.

After this odd coincidence he told me he was opening up a bigger art gallery and could use another gallery assistant. He told me he supports our college and prefers to hire students from his alma mater, and he would give me a call the next week if I was interested. He called the next week like he said, and I went in for an interview the day after. I went in expecting a part-time position but because of my computer skills Tony offered me a full-time job. I was a little shocked because of his quick decision so I asked him why he felt I was right for the job. He said the great customer service I gave him while mixing up his paint had impressed him.

That just goes to show a first full-time job isn’t always going to be what you’ve planned for, and opportunities can pop up when you least expect it.

(The photo is of the Tate Modern in London, my favorite art gallery.)