Hello SOTGC community,
I just recently resigned from my first job out of college, and, boy, was it with a heavy heart. When I first started at my company back in 2009 as an intern, I never imagined that I would start my official post-graduation career there, let alone tremble through my words as I was saying, “See you later” on the day of my departure. Upon my start date in the medical device industry I didn’t even understand what a tibia or femur was (keep in mind that I am a German citizen who studied Marketing and Management), yet only six years later, I found myself as the Associate Product Director for Surgical Process, managing a particular product brand. Anyone who has ever managed a particular brand knows how easy it is to get attached. A brand starts being associated with you because you are in charge of seeing it through its life cycle and when it finally hits the shelves… It’s a moment for years to come; you get to say: “I did that.”
When I look back at the time that I had with the company, I can’t believe how quickly it all went. Did I shed tears, laughs, and frustrations? Of course I did, but I also learned my most valuable lessons, which will prepare me well for my next adventures to come. We should all remember that we learn lessons at each job we take. What we learn at our first job is completely different from what we will learn at our next one. Your first job shapes you, molds you, and teaches you what it means to enter adulthood. I, personally, learned what it takes to put in the time to make a presentation that the audience will want to hear and won’t get bored at. I learned what it means to say “we,” and, above all, I learned how to form solid relationships where you can call your friends or mentors up and ask for advice.
Think about it this way: Just because you leave, it does not mean your relationships will be over. Use those relationships for years to come because the people in those relationships were the first to believe in you. Don’t ever leave a job burning bridges. After all, you may want to use these people as your references some day and you should definitely ask them if that would be okay.
Sometimes, people have to move on, and what I found is that others have been incredibly understanding and supportive of my new endeavors. When I was leaving, my director said to me, “We had a chance to see Corinna grow up in front of our eyes.” And he was right. I was a bit unpolished, emotional, and brash at times, but I managed to seize the opportunity that was given to me. The opposite is also true… you brought something to the table because you see products in a different way. You haven’t been ‘tainted’ yet with others views, so the way you see things is not the way others do. So ask questions; “Why has this been done this… Have we thought about doing it this way… Or can we try something new?”- people appreciate being challenged while it helps you understand their thinking.
I can’t say enough great things about the company I worked for and the people I had the privilege of working with, and they don’t even know what a lasting impression they had on me. With that said, don’t forget where you started from because those days were more than likely the biggest growth spurt you encountered. You went from school books to applying your knowledge in the real world. Make it count!
Learn from the past, apply in the present, and prepare for the future.
What have you learned from your first job? Have you had a chance to look back and say thanks to those around you? Even if your first job was less than ideal, I am sure it drove you to bigger and better things. Share your impressions and thoughts with us!