Life at the Bottom of the Totem Pole

Happy Monday, Career Girls!

This is my first post in 2013 so it only feels natural to discuss our New Year’s Resolutions, but I think we’re all feeling slightly bitter that we vowed to wake up early for the gym and pass up all varieties of sweets… So this post is going to focus on another bitter idea: the irrational belief that our first job will be our dream job.

Throughout your teens, you’re under a ton of pressure to figure out what you want to do and who you want to be for the rest of your life. Then you finally figure it out, graduate from a reputable university and begin searching for that dream job that you know is just sitting there waiting for you. Yeah right.

For some reason, we automatically assume that our first “big person” job is going to be the best thing since Simba and Nala fell in love in The Lion King. Us Gen-Y ers are pretty confident people, as we should be. We’re awesome. But sometimes our confidence leads us to believe we’re above the grunt work that typically accompanies an entry-level position.

While our brains are amazingly intelligent, we all will end up doing the following at least once:

  • Running with a tray of coffee in heels on a cobblestone street in February snow
  • Shredding your boss’ secret divorce documents
  • Attempting to fix the copier until your entire arms and face are covered in ink
  • Alphabetizing all the 465462132158 business cards your boss has ever collected
  • Assembling binders highlighting all client work for the past year
  • Scanning and sending. Scanning and sending. Scanning and sending.

These little moments are when we want to cuss our college professors who led us to believe our careers would be awesome. These little moments are when we want to cuss those few friends who actually did find an amazing job after graduation. These little moments are when we need to suck it up and swallow the little pride we have left.

Everyone had to start somewhere and that somewhere was most likely the bottom. We are a little luckier though, imagine what grunt work was like without technology?! I swear the unpleasant tasks don’t last forever (and if they do, you might have a bigger problem). You’ll learn a lot about life and yourself during those awful moments and the next thing you know, you’ll be sitting in a corner office with awesome views of the city. OK well not really, but you’ll definitely be doing a lot more legitimate work and a lot less b!tch work!

Have any words of wisdom or advice for those starting at the bottom of the totem pole? Please share below – Career Girls can never offer too much support!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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