We so often hear people referring to the concept of the ‘dream job’. Whether measured by responsibilities, status, income or additional benefits, the dream job tends to be more of a long term goal for most of us. But first, we must conquer the entry level job to get our feet wet, learn to manage employer expectations, customer complaints, deadlines, workplace politics, and job-related challenges.
There are entry level jobs in every occupation. They allow us the opportunity to learn more about the industry, determine our interest in embracing the field long term, and develop the skills necessary to grow. My first job was picking strawberries. I got on the commuter bus at 7 am every morning, crouched in the fields all day to fill as many baskets as I could, and had an aversion to strawberries for a few years to follow. At age 13, there were not many options for employment. This was my starting point and, from then on, I had a better idea of what I was looking for in a job.
We all start somewhere…even Hollywood superstars started out the same as you and I. Meghan Markle was a Calligrapher for wedding invitations; Taylor Swift a Christmas tree Exterminator; Amy Poehler & Julia Roberts were Ice Cream Scoopers; Kanye West was a GAP Sales Associate; Madonna was a Dunkin Donuts employee; Brad Pitt wore a Chicken Costume; Melissa McCarthy was a Starbuck’s Barista; Jennifer Aniston was a Bike Messenger; Tom Cruise was a Bellhop; and Dwayne Johnson was a Dishwasher (Source: 30 Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Were Famous, Eliza Thompson, April 2018, Cosmopolitan).
Working in an entry level job provides us with:
- Transferable skills
- Networking opportunities
- Access to internal job postings
- A chance to see if this type of work is a ‘good fit’
- Social interactions with coworkers, supervisors, and customers
- Work references
- Routine and structure
- A sense of pride / feeling of accomplishment
- Self confidence
- A foot in the door
- Financial independence
What does our experience as an entry level worker tell a potential employer about us?
• We are patient and eager to learn.
• We are able to understand the business from the ‘ground up’.
• We are able to deal with challenging situations on the front line.
• We have realistic expectation.
• We are willing to start at the bottom.
• We are motivated to move forward.
We all start somewhere…whether it is part-time, contract, an internship, or casual work. Every single job we take helps us to build our future. While it may not be a dream job, you never know where that Plan B / survival job / entry level job may take you.