In tribute to Valentine’s Day and Cupid’s arrow, I’d like to share with you my “first job after college” story.
After graduating, too exhausted to find work, I took three weeks off to sleep and travel!
It was the early 80’s, and many of my friends moved to other cities for work. Houston’s labor market was over-saturated at the time and offered few Graphic Design opportunities. Stubbornly I decided to stay put and make it work.
I returned to my college career center and noticed a “Graphic Designer” job posting. Ripping it off the board, I immediately notified the counselor who gave me the contact information (And I swear I heard angels singing. This was meant to be!).
The employer agreed to meet the next day, and I was more than ready – portfolio in hand, professional attire and modest heels.
As the interview progressed, two things became clear:
1. The employer was well-intentioned, and;
2. The job order had been misleading. It should have read, “Draftsman” (known today as CAD).
I wasn’t sure if my body language or attitude could mask my disappointment. I continued on with the interview but decided that I’d politely turn down the position when offered. (Notice I said when, not if. I was young.) Two hours later the offer came.
I made one of the smartest moves of my career and asked the employer for a few days to think it over. That night, after discussing my options with family and friends, I was torn. I had taken one drafting course as an elective in college and even though I wasn’t too impressed, my grades were stellar. Ultimately, after being advised to take the job, I decided to say yes to the employment opportunity.
The company specialized in electronic signage designs (primarily scoreboards), serving cities throughout the United States. You’ve seen them in large sports arenas providing colorful animations.
Turned out there was more opportunity at this place than I had previously thought. I worked hard and after just one year had quite an impressive portfolio/design library under my belt.
As my job description grew to include a healthy dose of both graphic design and public relations, I realized I couldn’t have found a better “fit” for myself. New projects rolled in and I soon fell in love with a job that never would have been my first choice.
Three amazing years later, when my dream employer extended me an offer, I left the company that stole my heart in order to advance my career! We’ve all got to start somewhere, and even though my first job wasn’t my “dream job,” it helped me grow. For that I am grateful.
Frieda Carmouche is a member of the Regional Navigator team specializing in training, educating and assisting employers, and career center staff throughout the Gulf Coast with community resources, outreach events and technical support in assisting job seekers with disabilities. A native Houstonian with a love of training and development, Frieda has been employed by Workforce Solutions for over 16 years.