Starting Off on the Right Professional Foot

There are lot of things to think about when you're in your twenties and juggling a million thoughts at once. One moment you can be looking up a storage unit in Chicago so your band can store its gear while you look for jobs, the next moment you're considering how to pay off the credit card debt you built up buying the gear.

A big question many young people, especially graduates, begin to ask themselves when they first emerge onto the job market is whether they should take a menial entry level job with a good company or an exciting job with a mediocre company. The best way to illustrate this dilemma is by comparing an entry level bank job with a posh waiter job at a good restaurant.

Do You Prefer Mental or Physical Challenges?

The bank job will take up a lot more time and mental energy and may even pay less money, but there is a lot more opportunity for upward mobility and lateral career movement. On the other hand, the restaurant job will contain a lot of messy grunt work and won't be very glamorous, but at least you'll have time to develop your core interests, whatever they may be.

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

The main factor that should influence your decision is what your long-term career plans are. If you plan to work in the financial sector, or in some form of administrative capacity, the bank job will be an excellent stepping stone and will look great on your resume when you're applying for other similar jobs in the future. Taking the restaurant job, in this instance, would only be a set-back. However, if you plan to pursue a different career path, a more creative one or something completely different than banking, the bank job is only going to distract you from your true passion. You might be able to save some money, but you may also find yourself feeling trapped.

How Will You Be Investing Your Time?

Another factor to consider when deciding between the bank job and the waiter job is how much time you'll be investing. The bank job may give you a better hourly rate but will likely require considerably more hours. Most shifts at restaurant jobs are no more than five hours and if it's a nice restaurant with a healthy clientele you stand to make more money in that five hours than you would in a whole day at the bank.

Ultimately you have to look at your own situation decide what's best for you. Are you looking to develop a career or are you just looking to save up some money while you wait for life's next adventure?

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