So you’ve taken the first step – going back to school – and now that you’ve graduated you’ll either have, or will hopefully soon be starting, your first job in a new career – that’s step two. So what’s next?
The Bambi Phase
I read an article somewhere a few years ago that described a graduate’s first job out of college, in any career, as the “Bambi Phase”. And I think that’s true. You might be a little wobbly to start with, your confidence might be a little shaky too, and of course, you haven’t yet learned what the real-world (in your chosen field) is really all about. In basic terms, your goal during the Bambi Phase of your career is to find your feet, survive what might be a difficult first few months, and then start to grow into your full potential. You will learn all about your surroundings, the areas where you can prosper and where (career) dangers lurk.
Use Your First To Get Your Second
That’s why, in many respects, the second job of your new career is more important than the first. In your second job, you’ll be more steady on your feet, you’ll be more self-aware, and more alert to what you need to do to thrive and progress in a testing environment. Your second job is often where you’ll mature into the professional you once dreamed of being when you first enrolled at Carrington.
But just like Bambi, you don’t want to rush it. You can’t get that great second job, if you don’t ace the first. You have to take the time to find your feet, to be secure in yourself and your surroundings. The point of this post is not to tell you to quit that first job after a couple of months and move on – oh no, don’t leave the safety of the long grass until you’re ready!
So What is the Next Step?
Take everything you learned in class, in clinicals, in the lab at Carrington, and on your externship; marry that with the invaluable experiences you’ll gain in your first job and continue to grow as a professional and an individual. Always think long-term, make yourself a valuable part of the team, and don’t burn bridges. Think about how your current job will benefit you in the hunt for the next job. When you’re ready to move on, and only you’ll know when the time is right, make smart choices.
- Take your time, and think long term – Don’t be impulsive. This is your career, your life.
- Choose wisely. We often grab the first job out of college out of necessity, but you may be able to be more picky with your second. Do a lot of research and try to find a role, an ethos and an environment that is a good fit both personally and professionally.
- Look in the mirror - Ask yourself what it is you’re looking for now that you have some experience. Is there a specific field to specialize in? Or a certain type of environment, such as a hospital.
- Network Network Network! – “It’s often not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s true. And more often than not during your career, opportunities may arise through personal connections. At the very least, set up a professional profile and make some connections on LinkedIn.
- Keep growing - If you have the ability to choose, pick an employer that encourages professional development; a place where you’ll continue to grow.
- Don’t burn your bridges! – I’ll say it again because it’s so important. From college, to your externship, to your first job, and every job you’ll ever have. Leave on good terms – you never know when something you once said to someone could come back to bite you Bambi!