I’m the opposite end of the spectrum, 1 job since I graduated college 10 years ago. I want to share what I’ve learned from the other side of the coin.
The job is in a medium sized local company office.
The commute is excellent and the salary livable. I do think I’d be making more money if I’d changed jobs 2-3 times, as there’s just not much room for growth at my current company. It seems like people change jobs to get that boost up to the next level at times.
On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of grads come in, build experience, and move up and out to the larger companies in the nearest Big City. While I’ve stayed. My boss has seen it too. I’ve become more valued here just by outliving them.
My education does help, people definitely see it. But people tend to see me as “educated/knows a lot“ whereas my equally competent but less educated coworker is seen as “smart”, and my less educated and more competent coworker is seen as “very smart/experienced”. Grammar helps a LOT, it’s like a suit for everything you do. The “very smart” coworker is extremely well spoken, clear, and concise. Learn how to write a good business email. Hint: they’re short.
I’ve also managed to work myself into somewhat of a niche role that helps my image. The “very smart” coworker who I’m sure makes way more $ than I do has a very niche role and works the hell out of it. Being specialized and therefore harder to replace makes them more valued. Deciding to learn on my own time to be the expert at something most of my coworkers didn’t like/were mediocre at has helped and now that niche thing is most of my job and ppl respect me for it.
On the culture side, it took me 4-5 years to get comfortable and make friends. That’s mostly because I’m bad at office culture. But I’ve literally just been here long enough that I help set the tone now. Purely outlasting others has helped. Now I am pretty comfortable and have work friends and good report with those above me.
I’ve been through a couple managers. Bad managers make the whole job suck. Good managers make a world of difference.
I don’t see myself being here forever. Throughout all 10 years I’ve never loved the work. It’s not meaningful. It’s just not. And there’s not really any more room to grow. There’s just not.
I’m now working on skills that will let me change industries into something that comes with a pension and feels more meaningful. But I’m not sure I’ll convince myself to make the leap. After this long here, my stress level is nil. I roll in, do my thing for 8 hours, roll out, enjoy my short commute, and collect a fair paycheck. It’s not prestigious or meaningful or lucrative. But it pays the bills and I’ve already worked out all the hard parts. I’ve come to enjoy my coworkers and feel at home here. If (when) I leave.... I will miss it. I’ll miss the friendly faces, the low stress, the supportive management, the knowing exactly what I’m doing. And it took a good bit of time to develop those things, and I’m not looking forward to the tough task of doing it again. Because it did take time and it was tough.
I am white in a small white town. I don’t doubt it be a tougher task if I were not white. I don’t doubt discrimination exists. But there are some ways I didn’t fit in to the culture. And what worked best was just being quiet about them and playing the part. Maybe that’s not fair but I chose to play the game as it was, not as I wish it would be. My minority coworkers do well because they act like straight religious white people. Their voices sound white/straight. Their lunch and breaks and clothing fit the established office culture. They stay away from political conversations. And it’s like they don’t “count” as “real” minorities anymore. Sure, Bob is black, but he wears bland ties and eats bland food and listens to bland music and sounds like the rest of us, so he may as well be white. I’m not saying it’s right or fair. I’m merely saying that small minded discriminatory people tend also to be amazingly dumb, and maybe you can’t change them but you can trick them.
Anyway. Staying in one place hasn’t been all good or all bad. Job hopping probably isn’t either. I don’t think dream jobs really exist though. If my job was all wine and roses, they wouldn’t have to pay me to do it.
The grass is always greener.