10 Ways Your First Job is Different From Your Dream Job

Filling out job applications is no party. Neither is getting the dreaded “I regret to inform you” letter, or worse, never hearing back from the company at all. But the time and energy spent networking and applying for jobs is all worth it when you finally get your first offer. You feel a sense of pride, relief and excitement—and are thrilled to kiss that ‘unemployed college grad’ title goodbye. Your first job might not be the highest paying, in your city of choice, or exactly the position you hoped for, but it’s still a job.

Then days, months and years pass by, and you realize you’re still sitting in the same cubicle taking orders from the same boss. Maybe you’re in the wrong industry, you aren't being challenged enough, or you just need a change—whatever the reason, now could be a good time to land your dream job and see how it feels to have a career you truly love. Read on to learn 10 differences between your first job and your dream job.

1. You accept your first job because you need money, and it’s better than being unemployed.

You accept your dream job because it’s what you want to do with your life.

2. At your first job, you get paid much less than you feel you deserve—and no one cares.

At your dream job, you make a decent salary and realize it isn’t just about the money.

3. At your first job, Monday mornings are the absolute worst.

At your dream job, Monday mornings still suck, but you wake up happy to go to work each day. 

4. At your first job, you come in early and stay late to prove yourself to your boss.

At your dream job, you put in long hours because you want to.

5. At your first job, you get stuck in a transition phase between college and the real world.

At your dream job, you feel like a real adult and are proud of your awesome career.

6. At your first job, you have to take orders that you don’t necessarily agree with.

At you dream job, you and all your colleagues are valuable members of a team.

7. At your first job, you have fake conversations with your coworkers when you see each other in the kitchen.

At your dream job, you can’t wait to meet up (read: gossip) with your work besties at lunch.

8. At your first job, you get stuck answering the phone and making copies.

At your dream job, you get exciting new responsibilities.

9. At your first job, your clients might not be who you ultimately want to work with.

At your dream job, you be partnering up with people who are passionate about the same things as you are.

10. At your first job, you complain about going to work every day. 

At your dream job, you have no worries because you make your own rules.

Keep these differences in mind during your job hunt and get one step closer to your dream career. Your first job might not be exactly what you want, but it will give you the experience you need to excel at your dream job. Enjoy being a young professional and remember to work it!