Does Your First Job Suck?

If you’re in your 20s and are feeing trapped in your job, I hope this post helps.

I’m in Boston’s Financial District for a morning meeting. Think tall skyscrapers, monuments of stone, steel and glass, around and all above you, blocking the blue sky.

When I come here, I often get the same vibe when I visit the Wall Street area in NYC. Most men are wearing nice suits and ties, and the women are in dark pantsuits or dresses, all conservatively-styled. People are in a hurry. Many have that morning glazed look, awaiting caffeine, as I sit here in a coffee shop, blogging.

I used to be part of this culture, back when I worked in Finance. That was Jo Tango 1.0.

It feels long ago, but, at the same time, very near. I didn’t enjoy those days of working every single day, for about 90+ hours a week. I gained 15 lbs. in 9 months, and barely had time to do things like pick up dry cleaning.

I remember that I almost never saw the sun. I would get in early into the office, and I would either leave around 11 pm or pull all-nighters. All day, I would sit in my cubicle, grinding out spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Then, in the evening, I’d produce charts and graphs.

I felt like I was dying inside. My life felt like scenes from the movie “Brazil.”

As I wrote before here, finding a career is different from finding a job. I didn’t like the person I had become. I wanted to find Jo Tango 2.0.

I’m sure many people whom I see this morning are happy and enjoying their jobs. But, I am certain some are entry-level folks in an enormous corporate bureaucracy and hierarchy, like I was.

If you’re one of those, my heart goes out to you. Don’t worry if your first job isn’t what you thought it would be. Don’t worry if you think there’s something wrong with you. There isn’t.

You have to go through the 1.0 phase before you get to 2.0. There are no short-cuts. Choose to choose to find a better career. If you hang in there, eventually, a clear path in your mind will emerge.

Then, take it.

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