This article hits close to home because I am planning on quitting my paid internship for an unpaid internship. Story below this Thought Catalog article.
Why Getting a 'Real Job' Right After Graduation Is Not The Right Decision
By Andy Evanko
There is a ton of pressure on senior year college students to be accepted to a job before graduation. You and everyone close to you want to see all your hard work pay off over the last four years, start making money and paying off those loans immediately. However, don't move too fast. Be wary of your first job; don't just jump into it.
I majored in communications and after graduation, to the surprise of everyone I knew, I had gone through the job search, passed three rounds of interviews, and after having a 'real major' I landed a 'real job' in sales. From graduation to 'real job' in only a month and I was ecstatic to start. To quote my mom, 'He got a real job with benefits and everything!' If you never had a job in sales, don't be fooled, they will hire everyone no matter what your qualifications. If you're not a money-sucking-heartless-shark of a person, you won't be successful and the company will drop you quicker than they so pleasantly hired you.
The 'problem' (I quote problem because this is a flaw not a skill) was that I was pretty good at lying my ass off and convincing struggling business owners to buy my shitty advertisements. I was the youngest sales person in my area and quickly started to learn sales tricks from the other more seasoned sales reps. As soon as the reps were around long enough for me to learn their heartless closing skills, they were gone. Sales reps were dropping left and right for not hitting numbers or getting laid off because my boss or someone higher up the latter didn't approve of their sales tactics. I was stressed out every quarter. I found myself running around to try and get the required number of new sales. My boss was on m y ass following my every move. I started going against my morals and bullshitting a product just to get one last sale for the quarter, being unaware if I was the next one to get canned.
The worst thing about my 'real job' was that I had plenty of money. I had more than enough dough to live by happily but, to keep my job, I had to keep hitting numbers. That is one thing I will never understand about sales jobs. The more successful you are at selling people into your company's trap, the more you have to sell. The only reward is money, bonuses and stupid incentives. My job situation became all so clear to me. I was just being held hostage by this company (which will remain nameless). Then, without warning, my closest co-worker and the number one rep in the area was fired. I couldn't believe it. I had learned so much from him and it didn't matter. He was gone with a single Donald Trump 'you're fired.'
I found myself changing as a person, losing weight, staying up all night preparing for presentations the next day, hounding business owners on the phone every hour. My girlfriend even started to take notice of how much I had changed that our relationship began to struggle. Why was I putting myself through this for a job? It just didn't make any logical sense to me. I made eye contact with myself in the mirror with my button down shirt and tie and told myself I couldn't go on like this. I was no longer the free-spirited communications major I once was and I wasn't ready to change. I sent my boss an email the next day and gave my resignation letter.
Fast forward two months later. I was living at the beach with my mom making sandwiches at a restaurant for the summer. I grew my hair and beard out and I am now spending too much time in the sun. Leaving my 'real job' was one of the best responsible life decisions I could have made. However, I still get asked, 'What do you do now?' 'When are you going to get a real job?' 'Are you ever going to use your sales experience for anything?' I don't understand why that seems like the path we all have to take. Is it so bad I am actually happy making sandwiches at a service job? I hated having a 'real job' having to answer to someone that doesn't take you seriously and only cares about hitting the sales numbers for the next deadline.
Growing up is not having someone dictating you, it's standing up to the dictator and doing what truly makes you happy. My 'real job' was more of a problem than a solution and it was forcing me to change myself. Making another struggling small business buy another advertisement isn't going to make a difference in the world. In all seriousness, advertising probably does more harm than good in the world. I would rather flash a person a smile and make them a nice lunch. Maybe they think it was the best sandwich they ever had. One can hope.
From time to time, a woman in a high-waist pencil skirt with a tucked in blouse having just enough buttons open showing off some corporate cleavage will fly into the restaurant accompanied by a business man in a tailored suit, gold pen in his chest pocket, neck tie restricting his airway just enough to being out the bags under his eyes and ask, 'I need 5 of this sandwich, 6 of this sandwich, a turkey with no mayo and 13 coffees.' To them I'm just some loser behind the counter that wouldn't last a day in their world, but to me, they're the ones losing because they were sent to get lunch.
I miss my old supervisor so much. It feels like there is something missing in C&LD. She knew everything there was to know about blogging, scheduling posts, social media, analytics and more. My former coworker, Heather, and I used to joke about how we would love to have Laura's job after we graduated. Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly happy for Laura, and she seems to love her new job, but the internship wasn't the same without her. While her being gone took a toll on me, our new supervisor took an even bigger toll on me. I won't talk smack because I know that's unprofessional, but lets just say her and I didn't see eye to eye. I didn't agree where she wanted our social media department and C&LD as a whole going, coupled with a few unprofessional incidents, and I couldn't take it anymore. Much like the author, I 'hated having a 'real internship' and having to answer to someone that doesn't take you seriously' (which she really didn't).
I'm here to tell you that having a paid internship isn't the most wonderful thing if you're not happy. I wasn't happy. While I loved the work that I was doing and I loved my coworker, the whole work environment wasn't as great as people made it seem. There were even cliques in our department. With professional staff! Yes, with staff who have been out of high school for years! I didn't agree with the dynamic of C&LD this semester, and while receiving this internship a year and a half ago was the best thing that ever happened to me, quitting was also one of the best things I've ever done.
Thankfully, I applied for an internship with College Lifestyles, an online magazine for classy co-eds, and got the writing internship! It was one of the best days of my life, getting that congratulations e-mail. I'm so happy that everyone at CL is so nice and friendly. We share the same values and I can tell how professional and classy everyone is. Check out their website! (click the picture)