Let’s admit it, we’ve all somehow planned out what we intend to do with our first paycheck. But, have we ever given any thought about our first job? While it may be daunting, landing that first job is undeniably a huge milestone in any young adult’s life. As Lasallians bid college farewell, they now say hello to the world of work where expectations that come with the first job run aplenty.
Graduating from one of the country’s top universities, Kyla Reyes* (BS STT, ‘12) and John Galang (AB PSM, ‘12) were optimistic about landing a good job after college. John felt ready and able to take on the responsibilities of a job with the training that he received since high school. As for the job itself, Kyla expected that it would be challenging, given that it’s something that she’s not familiar with.
As for Earl Ganuelas (BS ENT, ‘10), he expected his first job to somehow be similar to school wherein he would continue learning as he met deadlines and goals, interacted with different people, and was evaluated based on output. However, he knew that he would not be able to apply everything that he learned in the classroom with the differences between the academe and the industry.
Both him and Arielle Poblete (AB CAM, ‘11) wanted to be independent, especially in terms of finances, from their families. Other than that, Arielle also wanted to keep doing what she loved to do in college: Writing.
For Kyla, Arielle, Earl, and John, reality met their expectations in a way and even exceeded them. John and Earl admit that reality differed from their expectations; it certainly exceeded Earl’s. For instance, he mentions that he was not only financially independent, but he was also able to help his family through financial struggles.
On the other hand, Kyla and Arielle’s expectations were met when Kyla got hired three weeks after turning in her application and when Arielle got a job as an Editorial Assistant, which includes writing feature articles. It was the work load, they both admit, that overwhelmed them.
It was not all smooth sailing for all four Lasallians as they encountered some challenges, especially while they were starting out. For one thing, they had to learn the ropes and adapt to their new environment.
John, who was a Data Management Staffer after graduation, shares, “It was very different. Even though I can keep the pace with the time given to me, because I was trained to do so with DLSU’s trimestral system, it was a different scene outside the walls of the university.”
Meanwhile Kyla, currently a Benefits Analyst in an HR consulting firm, says that it took her months to learn the different processes and systems that she had to use.
With two to three articles to write daily, as well as papers and checks to manage, Arielle often found herself always doing overtime and feeling overwhelmed and under pressure. “The pressure from my editors and bosses were intense, but the pressure I imposed on myself was even more intense. I was almost on the brink of quitting,” she admits. Fortunately, she realized her interest in and talent for social media management and so she transferred to their Socials team.
On the other hand, Earl admits, “My first job was very challenging, but also very fulfilling.” From the get go, the company entrusted a lot of responsibility to him, causing him to “learn fast, work hard, ask the right questions, and most importantly, believe in my capacity to grow every day.” As each month brought more challenges, Earl improved himself and overcame them with the help and guidance of his manager and teammates, and with his determination.
Kyla and John share that another challenge that they also had to face was overcoming the stereotypes that other people have about Lasallians. John recalls, “It was hard to make connections with some people because they already have some stereotypes with you since you are a ‘Lasallian’ and you are a ‘conyo.’”
Despite these stereotypes, John explains, “No matter what school you come from, no matter how prepared you think you are, you still need to start at the bottom. There’s no special treatment, we are all equal regardless of the length of your resume and your CGPA or graduation awards.”
“It will always be hard at first but your hard work will definitely pay off, in one way or another,” Kyla says. Staying true to her motto, ‘The harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory,’ she adds that even the simple appreciations from her team and from her boss are always victories worth recognizing and celebrating.
As for Earl, his experience brought about a deeper realization for his parents and all their efforts as he realized how difficult it is to make a living. “It’s one long journey, and it’s all about having the right mindset to make each day count and give the very best results without burning out,” he says.
John says that the real challenge awaits those who will soon find themselves part of the world of work. “If your academic journey gave you so much challenges and failures, expect more from the real world,” he adds. He clarifies that while the school you came from and your grades are important, what matters more are your skills and capabilities.
As for choosing a company, Kyla says to never succumb to peer pressure and the lure of a high salary. Instead, she says, “It’s simply to apply to organizations where you have the same values with. Always remember that your first job is your first stepping stone in reaching your ultimate goal as an adult,” she says.
Similarly, Arielle also recommends not compromising and to always go for what you truly what and what makes you happy.
On the other hand, Earl advises future professionals to keep an open mind and a humble heart, and to be ready for huge responsibilities. “The world of work is big and diverse, filled with all sorts of experiences and people. Embrace it with open arms, and learn to appreciate every part of it,” Earl says.
Moreover, he emphasizes how, unlike in school, making mistakes can lead to great consequences that can affect other people. “The world of work is no longer the simulation we used to be part of in school. The risks and stakes are as high as they can get, and you will need to treat your job with the utmost care and respect that it deserves,” he explains.
In a way, one’s first job represents a rite of passage legitimizing the transition from student to professional. Expectations may vary from one person to the next—some may be met and even exceeded, while others may completely differ from reality.
Nonetheless, what matters more is that we pursue something that will make us feel happy and fulfilled. While it may seem scary and overwhelming given the hardships that come in the beginning, it is, most importantly, a new and exciting adventure to embark on.
*A pseudonym was used in lieu of the person’s real name