I was always a career-oriented person, and even as a child, I had very realistic opinions about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I never said I wanted to be an amazing doctor, an impressive lawyer, or the President of United States! I remember when I was only in Kindergarten and adults would keep asking me who I wanted to be. Now that I think about it, it was quite an open-ended question indeed. Honestly speaking, I never knew back then and I made up my mind right before it was time to apply to colleges.
During senior year at high school, I was looking at various job aspects. I was good at English, Math, Chemistry, and Computers. One thing led to another, and I decided that IT (information technology) was the field for me. An industry that was challenging, constantly growing, high in demand, and making tons of money sounded reassuring. After obtaining a four-year degree in Computer sciences, and building a remarkable portfolio for myself, I was ready to enter the professional world.
I did not struggle finding my first job because I was a promising candidate; or at least I thought so. I was aware that landing my first job at a place like Google or Microsoft was a long shot, so I started small. The company I got employed at was not the best in the business, but they were definitely reputable. I was genuinely excited for my first day at work, prepared to share my ideas and learn a thing or two.
Sadly, I was just the new guy who was fresh out of college. I was not an intern, but the seniors expected me to run superfluous errands for them. During the entire first week, I was the designated office boy. I was constantly around the photocopy machine, printing documents, delivering files, and all that kind of stuff. I did not have to make coffee rounds, which was in fact a disadvantage. There was a personal kitchen, which had all the coffee making supplies, and self-service was the way to go.
The problem was that their coffee tasted bad; it came in plastic jars with no labels, which was suspicious. I never liked my coffee black (hate all you want), so I added the ‘powdered milk’ provided. Surprisingly, it made the coffee taste worse because I am almost sure that the white colored powder was actually ‘Plaster of Paris’. I asked a colleague about how everyone drank the pathetic ‘coffee’ and what brand was it anyway. He let me know that the origin of the ingredients was a mystery, and they just grew onto you.
“Give it a few days and you will begin to love the office coffee,” he said most comfortingly.
Apparently, I could not just leave the premises to get coffee from outside when I wanted, so I brought mine from home instead.
Anyway, it was the second week at my first tech job, and I dared to discuss my situation with the operations manager. I insisted that they assign me real work, and that I would not disappoint them. I could tell he was not thrilled to hear me out, but promised to see what he could do. A few days more days went by before I was asked to work with the QA (quality assurance) team. Once again, I was kept busy with dull and repetitive tasks. The QA team was glad to have me do their work for them, and this continued for several days.
Finally, an opportunity arose where I could put my programming skills to work and prove my competence. A senior of mine asked me come in on a Saturday to help complete a priority project for the company. I readily sacrificed my day off and delivered my best. However, my seniors took credit for all my ideas and accomplishments. They received bonuses at the end of the month and I was left with a broken heart; I wondered if I was eligible for worker’s compensation?
The injustice did not end there, as I was later blamed for ruining terms with a client. In reality, I never worked on any project associated with that client, but there was nobody to back me up. I quit the job before the company could fire me for crimes I did not commit. I started working on freelance projects from websites like ‘Upwork’ and freed myself from the horrible workplace politics. Today, I am working on my own terms and earning much more than the salary I was offered at my first tech job (P.S. I make incredible cappuccinos at home!).