13 answers

What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your career?

Updated Houston, Texas

13 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas
Hi again Mireia! I love your questions! I work helping people to find jobs. What I wish I knew is how focused the social services are on "measurements." 1. How many customers did you help today? 2. How many job referrals did you give? etc etc etc Unfortunately, it is more important to give out a bunch of job referrals than it is to make sure the client has a good resume or is able to hold their own in an interview. That is because whoever funds us desires "accountability" so everything has to be measured. It's not possible to measure the effect of talking with someone for 20 minutes and boosting their self-esteem, or helping them develop a resume that will get them to the next step. I love what I do, and get a lot of positive feedback from my customers. I could do without the statistics! Kim
Thank you for your insight and I'm sorry to hear about that. Just remember that in the eyes of those you are helping you are not just a statistic and thanks to you, they don't feel like one either.

Dr. Ray’s Answer

Updated Fort Worth, Texas

Dear Mirela,

Your question really made me stop and think. I had very little idea of what it meant to work as a psychologist on a day to day basis. I originally wanted to teach at a university level but couln't get a job there. However, in retrospect I am glad i didn't go this route. Academic positions as a rule don't pay well and the politics and infighting among faculty members can be really vicious. After working in several mental health centers I went into private practice, which was immensely rewarding. However I wish I had known more about running a business. In addition to working with my clients I had to think about marketing, billing, paying taxes, etc., none of which was ever addressed in my training.

One of my professors told me "a degree is as good as your first job." Even if you are well prepared in a given field there will be many things you never thought of and have to learn once you start working, but this can be fun and needn't be unpleasant.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Douglas’s Answer

Updated Easton, Massachusetts
Interesting question. I do not have an answer to what I wished I knew. But, the one thing I did know is that I did not ever want to quit. If I chose to do something, I would carry it to completion. I did not always do "great", but I always finished.
Thank you for your insight!

Alwyn’s Answer

Updated Brockton, Massachusetts
Having insight into how humans interact with computational devices and what triggers them to action. In effect, I would have wanted to study behavioral psychology and human factors - each with skills that would have enhanced my expertise.
Thank you for sharing!

Pallavi’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Hello Mireia,

I wish I asked this question when I started by career and received the guidance. Over the years I have learnt:

  1. Most of us get intimidated when we are in a large group; not everyone is an ace in public speaking. There's always a fear; how will I be judged. This sometimes leaves us with situation where we get the half-baked information or no clarity at all. I have learnt, no matter what, if there is a doubt, never ever hesitate to ask a question. There maybe someone else in the room who has the similar concern and your question helps to get more details.
  2. Learn to say NO. We tend to go over and beyond when trying to please others and doing this, we end up taking more stuff in our plate than we can manage. Understand your capacity/ bandwidth first before accepting anything new. Saying NO will not get you a negative feedback; it is always better than not being able to deliver.

Vipul’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Importance of coding. Yes, I didn't know the importance of programming and coding until I started preparing for a job switch. Everywhere companies are expecting engineers to have coding experience and I must say they are not wrong.

Automation is the need of the hour. Manual work is slow and full of erorrs(pun intended). You need to have programming knowledge to automate tests. Agile work flow necessitates us to deliver a change as quickly as possible. What was earlier expected in weeks is now being delivered in hours thanks to devOps. Every stage of such a system has to be automated to achieve continuous integration and delivery. So there remains no scope for an engineer who doesn't know how to write efficient codes.

(Of course software developers also need to know programming by default)

Vipul recommends the following next steps:

  • Pick up any beginner level programming book of Head First series.

Zach’s Answer

That the first few years into your career will be hard and not the funniest work. But remember, it's helping build a better foundation for later in life. Lastly, your 20's are hard and trust your gut when it comes to your career. If you are unhappy, then leave or find another opportunity that make you happy.

Jordan’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

I wish I knew the importance of asking questions. Often times, when people start a new role, they try and stay in the background and blend in, however, that is the optimal time to ask questions in order to better understand what you should be doing.

Victoria’s Answer

Hi Mireira, I love your question and wish more people would ask these type of questions before starting their careers! Though many answers come to mind, to me the number one thing I wish I knew before starting my career was to have fun and travel a little before starting my full-time career.

It's important to work hard in college, work to obtain internships to gain experience, and work hard to develop your personal brand, but I wish I had taken some time to explore the world after college. You have the rest of your life to work, so don't wait until retirement to take time to get to know yourself outside of the college "bubble"!

Good Luck!

Victoria recommends the following next steps:

  • Get advice from trusted advisors and mentors about their experience.
  • Spend time thinking about the career you want to enter into and see how much work/life balance they provide.
  • Set personal goals and work hard to achieve them, along with your career goals!

Emilee’s Answer

Updated Greensboro, North Carolina

I wish I had known that it's ok to start in one career and make changes along the way. I started my career in public accounting and after thinking about what I like most about my job it led me to switch into a human resources role at the same company. You never know where your career will take you, so don't be afraid to make changes and say yes to various opportunities along the way.

Naimah’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Hi Mireia!

Thank you for a good question, that got me thinking...

There are always matters we realize in hindsight, and wish we knew before starting something. For me personally, I would say that I wish I knew the power of not being afraid to ask for help when needed.

I'm more of a shy person, in life and at work. I have come to see the value, and impact, of asking questions or for help when I need it. It's beneficial to those you are working for, as they get insight into your status or progress, or if you need additional assistance or resources. It's beneficial for you as you don't have to go about figuring things out on your own, you are able to share your thought process on a matter and get guidance on what the better or correct method would be.

So keep asking questions.

Rachael’s Answer

Hi Mireia,

Great question. I hope you are getting value from each responders' piece of advice and are able to apply it to your career search. I wish I had completed more internships in my field prior to choosing the avenue I pursued. A major is extremely broad encompassing numerous positions across a variety of industries. I think the best way to determine if this would be a fit is to experience it and internships are a great way to accomplish this. I only completed one internship. I wish I could have completed at least a few so that I had a better idea of what the day to day was like in each position, in each industry so I could ensure the choice I made was truly the best fit for me.

Good luck,


Lucie’s Answer

Updated Prague, Czechia

Hi Mireia!

I wish I knew what is my job interest like at the moment of defining my university major. With school background it helps you better understand the field itself. But I was still undecided "child" at that moment. Anyway it is great to keep yourself educated also while working so new options new challenges and new direction makes you more perfect. ;)

But there is one more thing... I know it is very attracting to start your work career, to become independent and to drive your life from that moment but I wish I could take a few months break, relax, travel with friends after I graduated. Enjoy your free time now because once you start working you will not have that many chances anymore. Your personal time will become as the most valuable asset...

Hope this helps! Good luck in your career!