by Abby Brummel | May 15, 2018
I hate first days at new jobs. You put on your best outfit, the one where you’ll make a great first impression. You try to arrive ten minutes early, but because you don’t know the traffic on the way to the office, you end up arriving just on time. You worry about what others will think about you. Are you being too quiet? Too loud? Did you make enough eye contact? Should you shake their hands? You sit down at your desk. You open all the drawers. Everything just feels so…new.
I have started four new jobs in the last year. I’m constantly getting thrown new things that I have to learn. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average person will hold 11.9 jobs between the ages of 18 and 50. I’ve already held six before the age of 21! Here are some of the reasons why.
I attend Hope College in Holland, Michigan during the school year. Unfortunately, Hope does not have a graphic design program. So instead, I am majoring in studio art and communication. I enjoy both of these majors, and the classes I’m taking are teaching me new skills, but neither of them truly focuses on graphic design or teaches me the kinds of skills I will need to become a well-rounded, proficient designer someday. Because of this, I have sought out multiple jobs to give me greater experience in the graphic design field. Even though I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks I am taking on, the jobs I have held in the last year have taught me more about marketing, branding, and design programs than any of my classes have.
I’ve always heard that the jobs you hold are far more important than the major you had in college. As much as I hate the process of starting new things, those new things have shaped me into a more marketable and well-rounded employee (not the comfortable, easy things). The job I held in high school taught me how to be flexible and how to take on multiple jobs at the same time. The job I held my freshman year of college in downtown Holland taught me how to be creative at my workplace and to stand up for myself when I was feeling overworked. The job I held during my sophomore year taught me how it felt to be excited to go to work every day. Now, my internship with Navigate is teaching me how to work with a team and how to have fun and work hard at the same time.
Those scary new things are the things that have pushed me, taught me, and made me better. They might be awkward and uncomfortable, but those first days have always been the start of something pretty important. So the next time you have a first day, get past the discomfort and nerves. Try to see it for what it is: the first step to learning and becoming better, stronger, and more confident. Maybe I don’t actually hate first days after all.