The saying “if I knew then what I know now” may not apply to any one thing more than the decisions one makes early in life about employment. What many people don’t realize is how often the job they take as soon as they finish their education soon becomes their place of employment for the next twenty plus years. A decision based solely on earnings at that time will many times determine your potential for future earnings. This is why it may be better to take a lower paying job with a good company, than a higher paying one with a bad one.
The first job, the one we get fresh out of high school or college, can be so exciting. All we tend to think about is that first paycheck and how we are going to spend it. Some new clothes from Macys or the ability to eat every day at McDonalds if that’s what you choose. What we don’t realize is we may just end up working there for many years, with little room for advancement, when the place we should have got a job is with Macys, McDonalds, Home Depot, even Walmart, rather than just being their customer.
Most of us tend to think our first job is just that. We’ll keep our eyes open, and look for other opportunities to come our way. The truth is for many of us our first job becomes our career for the next twenty years or more. Most of us are afraid of the uncertainty a job change holds, especially when we have a steady paycheck coming in that is mostly spent before we even receive it. We all say when something better comes along I will jump at it, when most of us actually jump out of the way of it. Preferring the safety of the known over the risk of a better paying job with room for advancement. We toil at jobs we don’t like that offer us little hope for promotion or pay increases.
The truth is many of us would have been better off at jobs we may have looked down our noses at. When we think of McDonalds we think of a place for kids to work after school and weekends to make some extra money while in school. What we don’t realize is McDonalds is not only big on promoting within the company, but also with training and even tuition assistance. The corporate ladder is almost endless in this company. From shift manager to restaurant manager, to district manager, etc. All the way to possibly becoming the president of McDonalds. Wouldn’t you be proud to say you worked there then. The same is true at many of these places we would never consider for careers, rather we look at them as places to be under employed.
Home Depot at one time had created more millionaires among their employees than any other American company. Yet to many of us the thought of working there pales in comparison to some cubicle in a “better” company. That attitude is also one of the reasons we should want to work there. Truth is if these companies, like Macys or Walmart, aren’t getting their pick of the “best” employees out there the chance for advancement is not only greater, but faster also. Think about it, where would you stand a better chance of getting noticed? Somewhere that all the employees have the same degree and work experience or somewhere you can stand out from the crowd.
I am sad to say I was one of those people who spent more than twenty years with the same company. After about ten years the ladder was full. There was no more room for advancement or significant pay increases. It took me twelve more years before I parted with them, and now that I have I feel it’s years, career wise, I have wasted. A friend’s daughter recently told me about her difficulties in getting a good job, and I told her she was looking in the wrong places. It is better to have a bad job with a good company than a good job with a bad company, at least to start anyway.