Your First Job Is Not Forever

Jamie Grant, C ‘98 GEd ‘99

I consider it a great privilege to work with soon-to-be graduates as they strive for their first professional position after Penn.  My favorite days are those when the conversations delve into career choice and decision making.  I often speak with students about opportunities that offer the chance (or risk, depending on your perspective) to move somewhere new, to work on something “exciting,” to make a difference in the world….or any number of other equally important things. 

Your personal consideration of choices and opportunities might cause you different kinds of feelings – excitement (I hope!), but also potentially, and commonly, trepidation.  This is also a process during which people may have different opinions as to what you should do.  How do you weigh it all and make the best possible choice for you?

I think this choice may be eased with a bit of focus on determining your “work values” and remembering the title of this blog – that your first job is not forever (and the numbers of jobs held as reported in some of our Alumni 5-year and 10-year out surveys attest to this fact!).   Our Career Exploration page makes two very important statements that tie it all together:

  •  It’s important to consider your values when looking at a variety of careers, because values serve as a barometer of emotion, measuring the degree of happiness and satisfaction in a career, and…
  • How you prioritize your values can change over time.

As you think about values today and in the future, I hope you’ll use those thoughts to guide your search.  And, as you contemplate career choices, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of the most valuable resource of Career Services, career counseling. Our experienced staff will gladly support you through this important phase of your career development.

Author: Jamie Grant

Jamie Grant is Associate Director of Career Services for the School of Engineering and Applied Science.