How did you start your career?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by wvuwhat, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. wvuwhat macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #1
    A little background. I'm a recent graduate and am spending all of my time trying to get the first "career-oriented" job. I have 7 years of experience in retail, purchasing, customer service and warehouse operations (jack of all trades type of job) and a year in video production experience. My degree is in Communication Studies with an emphasis on business management and organizational communications.

    Basically, I'd love to hear some real world experience in how you all started off your careers and if you wouldn't mind, what you are doing now and how everything panned out for you with your initial decision. I'm having a hard time deciding which career path the follow. Public/private? Community management? H.R.? Purchasing? Doing something I love and not making money for a few years (possibly living at home, because I'm in a very very high cost of living area, Loudoun County, VA). I'm pretty open, the only thing I have decided is that I will never work retail again and probably not food/restaurants (from my friends horror stories).

    I'm looking into the D.C. metro area if that helps, but am very willing to relocate, hopefully to Charlotte, NC, Charleston, SC, GA, FL, AZ, TX. It just looks like I would be "house poor" anywhere I live in my current area, because 1 br apartments are upwards of 950 a month, usually 1100+.

    I do have a passion for golf, the industry my experience is in, but they are really hurting more so than other industries with this economy.

    Any help? Thank you.
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    I got started through what was supposed to be a short Work Experience placement (when I was 16) with the Windows/x86 hardware team (as opposed to Sun/UNIX) where my dad was working - which happened to be an enormous US investment bank.

    The work experience led to a job offer, and before I knew it I was working full time there.

    Through the years one things has just led to another. I'm happy where I am now, but there's still plenty of room to move further up the IT ladder.

    Not that any of that helps you :p but that's how I started off in my "career" :)
     
  3. joro macrumors 68020

    joro

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    NOVA
    #3
    With a communications degree you are pretty wide open on what you can go into, especially considering you had a concentration in business. My sister graduated years ago from UNC-Charlotte with a degree in Communications and she was able to find work at a marketing department in Charlotte for a custom homes builder. HR is also another good fit given you experience and degree.

    While I moved away from Charlotte a few years ago both mine and my wife’s family still live there and we visit frequently. While it’s a nice city, banking is the lifeblood of Charlotte, particularly Bank of America and Wachovia. Having worked at the former for about 4 years, I can tell you that these employers are not hiring like they used to, in fact both are laying off all non-essential workers. The result in recent months has been a lot of people moving away from Charlotte to other areas where the “grass is greener” and this has resulted in problems for other companies who depend on population growth to sustain business. Similarly, these banks are typically the ones who hire for marketing and HR coming out of college and most of my friends have gotten their first experiences with them. So here are a few tips for you in regards to Charlotte – (1) live outside of Charlotte city limits. Taxes and real estate costs are sky high in the city and surrounding areas and (2) You might have to settle for a intermediate job right now and continuously look for a better position that better uses your degree – as they say the best time to look for a job is when you got one.

    Please note these apply mainly to Charlotte, since you said that was one of the cities you were interested in. Good luck with the job search!
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    I did an internship with Goldman Sachs for 14 weeks in the summer between my penultimate and last years of University (internship in IT, was doing a degree in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science). I decided to pursue a job at a different investment bank just to see what the differences were. Landed a job on the graduate scheme at Citigroup (I actually signed a Salomon Brothers contract and to start with we were more Salomon than Citi). Started in the summer of 2000 and still here :) Or is that :eek: Or maybe :( Not sure :p
     
  5. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    UK
  6. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    #6
    did a computer science degree, did an internship my 3rd year summer, got a call after I graduated to go back to work full time at the same place. left there 2.5 years later and now moving right up the corporate ladder....
     
  7. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #7
    Put on a shirt and tie and walked in right off the street with the opening line "I've always wanted to work in radio."

    Sometimes the direct approach is best :D
     
  8. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #8
    I started at the very bottom as production assistant. Got promoted in less than six months to designer, then after that art director and the senior art director. Hoping for creative director once the economy improves.
     
  9. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #9
    Thank everyone for the stories, keep em' coming.

    Jro, thanks for the Charlotte specific information. I visited last summer when I was 100% deadset moving down there. I was looking at the Ballantyne areas and up by Lake Norman. Any other places that you would suggest outside of the city limits?
     
  10. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    #10
    I had to knock on a lot of doors for about six months after graduation. Filled out plenty of job applications in various industries. I landed my first job in R&D at an oil company. The thing I remember most about interviewing there vs. the other places was that the environment and projects seemed to be much more interesting to me. Hope this helps!
     
  11. joro macrumors 68020

    joro

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    NOVA
    #11
    Ballantyne is a great area and probably where I would move if we ever went back to Charlotte. Over the past year or two, they have really built it up with all sorts of office buildings moving out there and also some great restaurants, bars, and amenities.

    In terms of areas, my father in law lives in that area although his address is “technically” Waxhaw, NC. As a result he’s in Union County which has much lower taxes and he’s less than 2-3 minutes away from the heart of Ballantyne and I-485. Lake Norman is beautiful but very pricey, so depending on your budget that may be an issue. I also have a few friends who live in Indian Trail which is about a 20-30 minute drive to Charlotte. Although house prices there are cheap, it lacks a lot of amenities and for younger professionals not the kind of place I would want to be personally. Belmont, like Indian Trail, is another good place which is about 20 or so minutes outside of Charlotte. I actually designed a real estate site for a development out there (http://www.belmontreserve.com).
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #12
    I think the key thing to remember is to keep reminding yourself of what interests you and to try to find a niche there if an opportunity arises. Also, interests can change over time; just because something absorbed you in your early or mid twenties does not mean it will do so twenty years later. Jobs are rarely for life, so keep your eyes open for positive changes and allow yourself to change course if something does not work out - it's all experience.

    My background is mainly academic; after graduation, I stayed on at college to do postgrad stuff, and started teaching history and politics. Over the years, my interests changed, - I branched out into teaching and researching areas that interested me (Russia and the former Soviet world) as well as areas that no one else would touch (such as EU studies)- thus, the areas I teach have also changed.

    One thing very often led to another; writing led to being published, which also, oddly, led to editing, and, after taking a civil service exam, working in the parliament as an editor in the parliamentary debates office. Later, a radio interview about one book I had written led to me becoming a regular radio commentator on a different area, still to do with current affairs; monitoring election counts in my home country (and teaching electoral systems) led to my becoming an election monitor abroad, sent by my government, mostly in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, which is work I have been doing since the mid-1990s. That, in turn, led to my present position, which is in the Caucasus, where I am seconded by my Government, but working with the EU. Most of it was not strictly planned, but almost all of it has been exceptionally interesting.

    Cheers and good luck
     
  13. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #13
    That sounds like a very interesting life. Very nice. I find myself changing daily now. I've gone from crazy high school kid, to practically married in college, to breaking up and graduating. Over these past 6 years I've learned to look at what I want and I've changed 100%. Good advice. Thanks.
     
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #14
    I slept with the CEO. Turns out he was just as tired as I was. Looking for a job and running a company is very exhausting.
     
  15. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #15
    Seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
     
  16. joro macrumors 68020

    joro

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    NOVA
    #16
    We all have our ways to get to “the top position” don’t we? :D
     
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #17
    You are welcome. However, I have to say to you that it reads better now, than it felt at times when living it; it wasn't all a smooth path, and there were some longeurs - including spells without work, or with part-time work - between times.

    Anyway, further advice I'd give is to take the time to enjoy what you enjoy doing and to walk if you find yourself in employment hell (recession notwithstanding). Money is not my god, but I like to enjoy what I am doing, and feel challenged and stimulated and enthused by it. Teaching brought me that - I enjoyed the classroom, and seminar room, and the idea of being paid to do something which you enjoy doing is something which thrilled me for the first few years I taught - but so does a lot of the other stuff I have done since. Respect matters a lot more than money, and there are few hells on earth worse than an appalling work environment.

    I have worked for bosses I admired, respected, and liked and it was an unalloyed pleasure. Likewise, I have worked for complete clowns, and two bullies; let us simply say, it didn't last.

    Moreover, don't be afraid of being let go, even now, with the recession. It is devastating when it happens, and one can often take it personally (sometimes, it is meant to be taken personally). However, it can allow one the freedom to embark on totally new paths, paths which would have been "roads not taken" otherwise.

    Cheers and good luck
     

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