First Job? Learn from the Bad Stuff!

Many new grads are starting their first real jobs this month, perhaps after a bit of well-deserved time off. The Legacy Project elders told us that you may be stuck initially in work that is less than idea (many had not-s0-great jobs during the Depression).

They have an important piece of advice for that situation: Treat a bad job as a learning experience.

Sam Winston, 81, trained as an engineer but also worked in marketing and as a general manager. He attributes his considerable career success specifically to his ability to learn from jobs he didn’t like. The key, he says, is to see them as learning experiences and to take advantage of any opportunity to gather knowledge about an industry or occupation.

One important thing for young people is to be observant. No matter what the task is, whether you like it or not, it’s very important to learn everything you can about what’s happening around you. You never know when that may be of great value later.

I’ve had many different experiences throughout my life where I really didn’t like what I had to do and I would feel what I was doing was inconsequential. But the lessons I learned doing those things played an important part in my life.

For example, I had to work my way through college, in many jobs you may consider meaningless. Later on they were very valuable for me as an employer, to help me understand my people. I would tell younger people that no matter what the experience is — learn. See what’s happening.

2 thoughts on “First Job? Learn from the Bad Stuff!

  1. Sam, this is great advice! I am just starting out in the job market and have found that expecting to start out with the “dream job” is unrealistic. But, there is something to be learned from everything. It is important to take every opportunity you can get and learn at least one valuable lesson from it. This just makes life so much more rich and rewarding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *