One year ago, the fear of the unknown consumed my thoughts. I was about to graduate college – one of life’s most rewarding achievements – and yet I couldn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t allow myself to feel proud. I assumed when the novelty of graduation wore off, I was going to be unemployed and underwhelmed.
Everything changed, though, when I answered the call that would validate the four years leading up to it. On the other end of the phone was Reebok, offering me a position in their year-long Apprentice Program. It felt as though the world was offering me a sense of relief and peace of mind that my work hadn’t gone unnoticed. At that moment, I was officially employed by my dream company.
“Often, people say that your first job won’t be your favorite job or even a job you enjoy. It’s viewed as a stepping stone into the real world – an opportunity to transition from college life to work life, eventually preparing you for the role you truly want.”
My experience couldn’t have been more different from the aforementioned stereotype. My first job was not a lackluster stepping stone. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
As this chapter comes to a close and I embark on the next step of my journey, there are a few things I need to thank my first job for before saying goodbye.
1. Attitude is infectious.
Thank you to my first job for epitomizing the importance of personal attitude and the intangible impacts it can have. There will inevitably be days when you can’t control writer’s block or falling behind in email. You can, however, always control the attitude in which you go about those activities. Owning a positive attitude that others begin to recognize as the norm is a characteristic that becomes contagious – and I’m grateful to have caught this “bug.”
2. Prioritize culture.
Thank you to my first job for showing me how a workplace environment can be the ultimate catalyst for growth. You spend just as much time (or more) with your coworkers as you do with your friends or family, so placing company culture high on the priority list became a must-do at my first job. At Reebok, the hour you take away from your desk to dedicate to fitness – whether it’s boxing, spin, yoga, CrossFit, running, etc. – is just as important as any other meeting on your schedule.
“It has become clear to me that you shouldn’t pursue just a job; you should pursue a culture that inspires you to be better and provides you the avenues to do so.”
3. Trust the process.
Thank you to my first job for teaching me how to maximize the potential in every day – and trusting that doing so will open the right doors. It was daunting to know that as a year-long apprentice, my future wasn’t necessarily guaranteed. That realization, though, allowed me to truly focus on each day as it came – worrying about the future would only hinder my development in the role. Through trusting the process, the next opportunity presented itself and I was well prepared to seize it.