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The right “first job”: Tips for fresh graduates

by Benjamin Caruncho III


01 Jul 2013 Print This Post Print This Post



    If you’re a fresh graduate, you’re likely applying for a job by running around the urban jungles of the country’s foremost central business districts. You hope to land that job before someone else does.

    Somehow, some way, human resource departments do find you attractive for their vacant posts. How you got their attention doesn’t matter now. You have a decision to make now that it’s them seeking you. When one company raises its compensation package, and others follow with even more attractive offers than the previous ones, job-hunting is no longer the “piece of cake” you thought it to be. Problem is, what is an “effective decision” in the context of job-hunting? And your prospective employers are all waiting.

    I have some criteria for choosing that elusive “right first job” based on job-hunters’ likely priorities. Should you think you didn’t get it right the first time, well, nobody gets it fully right the first time anyway. But whatever that first job may be, it may yet turn out to be the right stepping stone to the next one. So let’s get started.

    Big money/benefits/starting bonus

    Why you should choose this way: Who doesn’t want big money and rewards now? Not only will you relinquish your parents’ “baon” for you, you’ll be the one giving it to them sooner than later. Money is a flexible instrument for expediting any plan you may have—be those for yourself, or shared.

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: Money and materials can be instrumental to many things, but not everything! If you aim solely for money, and not be honest with yourself about your other immaterial needs, you’re digging cavities in your conscience.

    I suggest: Determine your baseline material and monetary needs. Once candidate companies guarantee that any one of them can materially secure you and your family, start putting the next biggest emphasis on immaterial returns in your choice of company.

    Proximity to home

    Why you should choose this way: You work to live! The quicker you go to work, the less drained you are at work. The less you spend going to work and at work, the more money you have for other good uses. The earlier you go home or to the gym, the more your me-time drains your stress and prepares you for the next day. If you happen to be taking care of very young children or senior citizens, the quicker you attend to emergencies.

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: Your whole life has a bigger radius than the one between your home and your work place. Distance can satisfy the inner knack for adventure, and adventure sometimes opens extraordinary opportunities.

    I suggest: If your monthly transportation and dining allowance is going to be as big as your withheld taxes, and your travel time eats about four to six of your waking hours, you had better reconsider. You may push through if working in that company will give you exceptional returns.

    Parents’ choice

    Why you should choose this way: If you want to make your parents proud (or avoid hearing negative comments about your work preferences from them), then pick that which you believe will help you achieve peace of mind (if this is how you define peace of mind).

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: Seriously, your career becomes your vocation. It is your source of fulfillment beyond just a source of income. Your career is your vehicle for contributing to the “greater family” that is society.

    I suggest: Talk to your parents about your objectives in life and how you expect your work to help you achieve those. It’s not like you’ll work in the underbelly of society (don’t dare consider that).

    Training, opportunities and experience

    Why you should choose this way: Training, travel, and the diversity of clients and projects will speed up your acquisition of gainful experiences. You will need those to move up, to fall back to in hard times, or, to move on when a new opportunity comes.

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: Some companies can lure you with training opportunities in order to bind you without honoring the proper employee-employer relationship (an unfavorable trade-off in the long run as far as ranking, social security and company HMO’s are concerned).

    I suggest: I actually allowed my pay to go down a bit from that of the previous employer’s. But the training I received had life-changing implications. It helped me move up and laterally in my field, as well as take on two choice jobs at a certain period. Determine if the training or experience you will receive will have long-lasting favorable implications to you.

    Friends’ choice and social life

    Why you should choose this way: It’s good to have a social support structure. You could work better in the company of people you have had a long work and personal relationship with, as well as similar beliefs.

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: Differences are inevitable and you need to know how to work with different (if not difficult) people. Such is the spice of life.

    I suggest: Work is supposed to diversify our everyday experiences. You’ll be doing yourself injustice in being in a “Just-Us League.”

    Means to your ends

    Why you should choose this way: Should you envision yourself as a rich entrepreneur or influential boss in the near future, you need the right company who will compensate you well and provide you with the right connections and pivotal experiences.

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: You could end up short-changing the company that feeds you by physically working for them, but mentally being in another. Socially, that is contrary to the principle of building trust, which will come in handy when it’s time to move up, or move on.

    I suggest: Choose a company with values and directions that you can align yourself with. Check the company culture, vision and mission if it and you are on the same path and that you can see eye-to-eye on a variety of plans and issues.

    Immediacy of needs

    Why you should choose this way: If you are a lone or hard-pressed breadwinner, take the first job that appears on your radar.

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: You’ll be dragging your feet to a work you don’t really like. That’s going to be taxing. You could lose focus and the company will feel it’s not getting what they pay you for.

    I suggest: Be patient and keep exploring. How you satisfy your household needs largely depends in your disposition on the job. But if it can’t be helped, take that job but mind your manners. An ounce of loyalty—at least, while you’re there—is better than a pound of cleverness, so the saying goes.

    Need to prove, bragging rights and fuel for vices

    Why you should choose this way: Actually, you shouldn’t!

    Why you shouldn’t choose this way: If all you ever wanted to do is prove to people that your so-called sophistication, your achievement or your capability to sustain your vanities and vices, no company would ever want to put up with attitudes like that. There is a reason why the words “human resources” is now being replaced with “human capital.”

    I suggest: Don’t look for a job until you sort yourself out. Perhaps you should first see your university guidance counselor.


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    2 Responses to “The right “first job”: Tips for fresh graduates”

    1. Ricianne Marie Rey 28 October 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Helpful article!

      • bcaruncho3 10 December 2013 at 1:19 pm #

        Thank you very much for your appreciation. I hope I was able to help you and your friends. Should you have other career questions, do post or reply. Merry Christmas!

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