This is a guest post courtesy of Ben Carpenter.
Congratulations, you’ve finally made it to your first adult job, or what I like to refer to the ‘Bigs’. For those of you familiar with baseball, the term is taken from the Big Leagues, and your first job is just the start! While it can be easy to get caught up in all the changes associated with this phase of your life, it’s important that you take a moment to reflect on your future career.
If you are reading this, you are already on your way to taking that extra step that’s going to boost your career. While just obtaining your first job may have been a lot of work, you’re not in the clear yet. What you do early on in your career will set the stage for many of your future career plans. That being said, working on Wall Street for over 20 years, I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes. Undoubtedly you will too, but the least I can do is pass on some advice to help you avoid some mistakes.
My first piece of advice is: Don’t be Patient. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a job that won’t allow you to achieve your personal and professional goals. While it sometimes might make sense for you to stay at a company longer than you want to build up your resume, don’t allow yourself to settle. There are plenty of great companies and jobs out there that might be right for you. Seek them out, and do your best to earn a spot in the company. Remember no one is going to hand you a job without earning it.
My second piece of advice is: Don’t leap before looking. After 6 years of working at Banker’s Trust, I decided that I wanted to become a corporate bonds salesman at Morgan Stanley. This would have been a great career move, if I had done my research. I realized that I had very little interest in selling corporate bonds opposed to the freedom that came with selling treasury bonds. Secondly, I didn’t have nearly the support I needed from my new boss. He seemed to care little about advancing the department, and only about moving up to his next job in the company.
While you may be pursuing any number of career options, keep in mind to advocate for yourself, and do your research before jumping into a new career option. Utilize your ability to talk with professionals already in the field of your desired career change, and find out if employees like the boss you’d be working for. Fortunately, I was able to bounce my career path to a company I love, and eventually became Co-CEO for, Greenwich Capital. You on the other hand cannot always expect to be so lucky.
That being said, I hope you will find this information useful, and put it into practice. Good luck in all your career endeavors and continue to work hard at everything you do. These early years can make or break you so to speak. Let’s strive for the former!