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What Did You Learn from Your First Job?

Many of us are inclined to remember a lot of "firsts" in life: first kiss, first beer, first date, first car. And, of course, first job, especially the first job after graduating from college.

In most cases, that first job will not make you rich in the wallet, but could make you richer in wisdom. That's what happened to me: I became better schooled about the ways of business, how to play office politics, and how to work nicely with others. In contrast, I had a crappy salary, little spending cash, and had to get my parents to cosign a loan for a new car.

Those memories – as painful as they remain – came back when I read a post this week on the Career Rocketeer blog. The writer, Mario Schulzke, reinforced the point that learning is more important than earning at that first post-college job. His advice:

  • Let the job help determine your future,
  • Develop skills related to what you're passionate about, and,
  • Build professional relationships that can help you advance your career.

That said, I'd like to get the perspectives of readers who've been out of college long enough to have at least a couple professional jobs on their resumes. What first-job experiences do you think are most important for those who just graduated this year? What do you think is the most important thing for them to learn from their first full-time job?

Please share your thoughts and post a comment below.

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