First Job Woes

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Have you ever held a job that you hated going to? Or ever been in a situation similar to Andy in the Devil Wears Prada?

I have. I hated my first job, yet it was a great learning curve because it taught me that job satisfaction and a good work environment is so important when looking for a career.

I should have listened to my gut when I had my interview. I felt uneasy about the woman opposite me who was going to be my future boss and I should have listened to the alarm bells when she asked me for my star sign. When I told her I thought I was a cancer she told me my flaws based on that star sign.

I was offered the job straight after my interview (obviously she could live with my flaws!) and was told to stay back to do some administration work. It was around 5 o’clock in the afternoon and I knew my mum had made a special family dinner for Christmas (I got the job a week before Chrismas Day). When I explained this to my new boss she seemed undeterred. I had to ring my mum and explain I had got the job but had to start straight away.

I didn’t leave until a couple of hours later. I was excited that I had got my first job but also scared about what I was expected to do.

I have never worked in such a horrible work environment as that first job. The moral was so low the staff walked on egg shells around my boss. There was a high staff turnover and my boss’s husband who worked in the company rarely talked to his wife. It was definitely not a nice place to work at.

The interior of the office was very grey and the office furniture and décor was based on Feng Shui – to keep out evil spirits, but I believe her efforts invited them in because weird stuff happened when I was at work that made my hair stand up on end.

After three weeks I broke down to my mum about how awful my job was. The day before my break down I had received the terms of my employment and my work title had changed from what I had been interviewed for. I realized that this wasn’t the job for me, but I didn’t know how to get out of it. Mum told me I just had to resign and no one was forcing me to go back and I hadn’t signed anything.

I typed up a letter explaining I did not wish to accept the new employment contract as it was different to what was advertised on the job search website. I also added my ten cents worth about the workplace being a godforsaken environment and how disappointed I was in her work ethic to which my mum told me to delete and leave out all the emotional details.

The next morning my mum drove me to the office on Roberstson Street in Fortitude Valley and I was so nervous. I prayed that my boss had slept in so I wouldn’t have to hand my resignation letter to her. It seemed so gutless but I was scared.

My prayers were answered because when I walked into the office, my boss had apparently slept in so I handed in my resignation letter to the receptionist who knew exactly how I felt. She and had been looking for a new job herself and she’d only been with the company for a couple of months.

I remember the relief that washed over me when mum and I drove away and we met my dad for a coffee to sort of celebrate my resignation.

My mum suggested I go with them on their overseas trip to Europe with my brother, but I refused because I really wanted to get another job and knew that going overseas wasn’t going to help with my job situation. I was still living at home and had no expenses so there was no financial pressure to get a job. But I just wanted to start earning money to save for a house deposit and get a head start on adult life.

While my parents and brother were away overseas I had numerous interviews and got offered two jobs in one day. I took the higher paying job which sounded more stable and was a lot closer to home.

The work environment at that job was sooo much nicer than what I had experienced previously despite it being flooded with truck drivers who used a lot of profanity, using words that rhyme with truck and ship.

Those first job woes taught me a lesson that if you’re not happy with something, change it. I persevered for 3 weeks because I believed my perseverance would help me prosper, but it only made me more miserable and it really affected my outlook on life.

I hated Monday’s when I was at my first job, but when I got my second job I couldn’t wait for Monday to arrive because I enjoyed what I did and had lovely ladies to work with.

What I experienced in my first job makes me appreciate the bad days at home with my kids. It’s not until you have a bad experience that you realize how good life can be once you’ve been through it.

To this day, I still don’t like heading down to James Street at Fortitude Valley because of those bad memories. I still get the heebie jeebies if I drive past that office on Roberston Street.

Have you ever had a bad job experience? What did you do to make it better?