5 Things I Learned From My First Professional Job - West & Rose Farm

5 Things I Learned From My First Professional Job

My first professional job that I had right after graduating from Auburn University was at a Medical Fitness Facility. I did an internship there my last semester at Auburn.  Graduating in 2009, when the market crashed, I was extremely lucky when they offered me a job that I started working at the day after my commencement ceremony.  I did a little bit of everything.  I was a life guard and swim instructor.  A membership representative and later on also became their office coordinator and payroll manager for all the employees in the facility.

My time at this facility were two of the best years of my life.  I learned a great deal about what I need and want from a job.  Here are the top 5 things I learned:

1. The Boss Can Make or Break The Job

My first boss was really great.  He took me under his wing and also offered me lots of opportunities to grow and gain new skills.  In 2009, when the market crashed and I had very little professional experience, being able to gain skills and knowledge was extremely valuable.  He also knew how to laugh and take a joke, which I always really appreciated about him.  I had so much fun at my job.  It was hard work, but I had a blast too.  In each job I have had since then my boss, and my relationship with them, has a direct impact on how I feel about the job.

2. Work Friends Make Some of the Best Friends

In my first professional job I made some amazing friends.  While, regrettably, I don't keep in touch with any of them now- I cherished the relationships I made during that time.  It is vital for me to have good friends at my job.  Friends I can trust and confide in.  You are at work more than you are with your family if you work full-time.  You better have people there you like and enjoy spending time with!  Friends also help you have more opportunity to network with people you may not have met if it weren't for them!

3. Pay is NOT Everything

While money is extremely important and is 90% of the reason why we work, it is not everything.  I have made the grave mistake of accepting a job simply because it offered more money, even though I had heard it was not a good environment.  For two, long, years I was miserable.  That misery bled into my home life and just made me an unhappy person in all aspects of my life.  I will never accept a job based solely on the money again.

4. Do What Makes You Happy

There are many people content with going into a job, going through the motions and going home.  I found in my first job that I have to like what I am doing, at least in the big picture.  There are tasks in every job, even a dream job, that will be hated.  However, I know that I must be inspired by the work I do and/or the company that I work for.  For me to be fulfilled professionally, I have to feel like the work I do matters.  I love working in a higher education setting because college changes every person's life.  In big ways and small.  I love being a part of that.  

5. Benefits are a BIG Deal

I have gone from private, hospital industry to public higher education.  Both areas have some amazing healthcare and benefits.  When I had my son, while employed by the hospital, we only ended up paying $300 out of pocket for the whole 3 day stay in the hospital thanks to great health insurance.  In my current position I earn a good bit of sick leave and annual leave each month, have health insurance, short-term and long-term disability, life insurance as well as retirement savings matched by the institution up to a certain percentage, etc.  Pretty great stuff.  Having these kinds of benefits can give you such peace of mind for your family's well-being.

There you have it!  If you happen to looking for a new job or are just curious about the types of positions available in your area, check out TheLadders.  Their website is extremely comprehensive and goes far beyond job listings.

Happy Friday to you and yours!

The Diary of a Real HousewifeMomfessionals


  1. I totally agree that pay shouldn't be the driving force behind accepting a job. You should do what makes you happy because you'll be working for a very long time, and that's too long to not be happy and enjoy what you're doing!

  2. I have been struggling with some of those things on your list a lot this year. They are things that I need to keep in perspective for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey there! I agree with every one of these. I am so so blessed to work for a company that cares about its people. Even better, I'm doing what I love and work with some amazing people. :) Am stopping by from Friday Favorites. Will be following along! Happy weekend!

  4. So many good points!! Agree with all of them. I really think the boss AND environment (not just taking a job for pay) are most important. A good boss pushes you to perform better and loves to teach you new skills. And the right environment is positive and inspires you to do better. And, again, teaches you new skills. So important! Especially when you're just starting out. Thanks for linking this up over at H54F!!