Your First Job Isn't as Exciting as You Imagined it Would Be - 5 Ways to Make the Most of It
Landing your very first "real" job is exciting and what a milestone you've reached! Sure, you may have had a childhood paper route or babysat for the bratty kids next door, but reaching adulthood and walking through the door to that first major job is a true step towards the rest of your career.
While your expectations may be high, your adrenaline is pumping, and you're full of hope and promise, not all first jobs are a dream come true. Sometimes the realistic levels of excitement and interest level are pretty low. It's just part of the process of climbing the ladder to the next (and hopefully more interesting) point in your career.
But there's no need to get down in the dumps because of a lackluster first job. There's potential to turn that frown upside down and make the most of this experience. You can take the reins and control your own destiny… or at least prevent yourself from staring at the clock 'till it strikes 5pm. Here are 5 tips to making the most of your first job when it's not exactly making the most of you.
Hone in On the Positive
Looking on the bright side can have positive psychological effects. Not everything is terrible about your job, so it's up to you to bring out the aspects of it that are interesting and exciting to you. Perhaps it's those brainstorming meetings on Monday morning where you can hear what the company is planning and what the other departments are up to. Your boss may be a great mentor. Or maybe it's the fact that your office is close to home so you have a quick commute. If your paycheck is decent, then that's nothing to turn up your nose too either.
Similarly, get rid of negative thoughts and constant complaining. This will only reinforce the not-so-great parts of the job and take time away from its better aspects. As per Life Hacker, "Complaining about your job can be fun because it seems cathartic, but venting your frustration will only make your anger worse. Instead of complaining, consider solutions. If you can't change the way things work in the office, consider ways to help you cope with those problems. Being more proactive and less negative may not fix everything, but it can improve your situation."
Don't forget that a first job is a learning experience. Learn to finish the tasks that may not be your favorite, but lend to your overall success. And for the things you truly enjoy? Go at them with gusto to show your manager you're enthusiastic and eager to tackle similar tasks in the future.
Sitting alone in your cubicle all day and never co-mingling with your co-workers can make a dull job even more dreadful. It's time to step out of your shell and learn more about your company and the people who work for it alongside you. You'll become more knowledgeable as well as better-rounded. Plus, your boredom will fade as you get more involved.
As Forbes notes, "Your brain needs stimulus. Try doing your humdrum tasks in a different way, at a different time, in a different seat or with different people." In addition, "Ask your boss if you can alter your workload or the kind of work you currently do." This will allow you to participate in different departments and zero in on what it is you enjoy doing the most.
Talk to your co-workers, learn about new innovations and marketing plans, and stay in the loop of what's happening in every department. This will help you realize that the role you have is an important part of the machine and you'll be able to see its value. Even if you wind up back in your initial job area, you can offer aid when needed and consider a different department when it's time for a review or promotion.
Make Lunchtime Special
When you're not all too enthralled with your job, break time can be a blessing to help recharge you to make the most of the remainder of the day. Take the free time you have to eat a healthy and energizing meal, read a book or the newspaper, chit chat with co-workers, or take a brisk walk around the block.
With some time to clear your mind, you can get back to work with a sense of purpose and stamina. Think about why you took the job in the first place and get back to that mentality after a little time to yourself. Use the break time to think about new ways to approach your job with positivity and ambition. Mind over matter is a useful tool.
Then again, if you get back to your desk and still find yourself in a blasé mood, at least you had an hour off to do something enjoyable!
Put Things in Context
Sometimes, it's all about perspective to make what could be tedious something that intrigues you. This is your first job, so while it may not be your dream scenario, if you place this moment in the context of your life to date and where it's headed, things could suddenly seem pretty darn OK.
As Tiny Budda puts it, "Things may be far from ideal, but they could also be much worse. Throughout the world, there are millions and millions of people who would be confused if you told them that you were miserable in your current job. They're making a lot less money, while working longer hours, and often in far worse conditions."
Think of what you are doing now as a small checkpoint on the list of your entire life. Use what you are doing and learning as ways to better yourself and figure out where you fit into the scheme of things both in the workforce and the universe. While organizing an Excel spreadsheet may not seem Earth-shattering, making a contribution towards the bigger picture is what makes the world go 'round.
You can make your job more appealing by changing things up to make it more exciting for you. You can suggest a new way of holding team meetings or volunteer to work with the interns as they integrate into their respective departments. Think about new ways of managing your time to get the dull items out of the way first so you can look forward to the things that keep you on your toes. Maybe you can get approval to work from home a few days a week or change up your hours so you can do other non-work activities that keep you motivated. Ask to attend seminars or conferences in your field so you can be on top of the most current trends and meet like-minded individuals who can help you get to the next stage of your career.
If your job seems boring, it doesn't mean that you have to be too. Use your inner creativity to turn a ho-hum job into something to wake up looking forward to.
Your new job seems a little more exciting now, doesn't it!?
Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!