Even before graduating from WMU, I had my first real-world job lined up. I started interning part-time before walking across the stage at Miller in the spring of 2009. Two days after graduation, I was on a plane to the booming metropolis of Lincoln, Nebraska. After a few months of learning and training with the CEO of my new company, I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I would get a golden watch and retire from that company someday.
Fast forward six years and four companies later. I have an admittedly checkered resume that thirty years ago would have made me un-hirable. I am thankful that each job change helped me hone in on the role and company I could see myself working at for the long term. These ideals are always changing as my experience grows, my professional goals become ever higher, and my personal goals revolve more around home and family.
There is no hard and fast definition of the company you will love working for. There are some things that you’ll be able to spot from the outside: size, industry, location and travel. There are others you may only be able to learn from experience on the inside. These internal factors are probably not going to come through in the interview process, but after six months, you will likely have a pretty good idea of what the culture is like.
I almost hate to use the word culture; it’s a buzzword you will hear nearly every day from professors in college but there is something to it. Culture is short for “that feeling you get when you go to work every day and how others in your company make you feel.” You may find a high-paying job with a company that has a great culture, but you may be in the one department that doesn’t embrace that culture and that no one will touch with a ten-foot pole.
After learning from these experiences and those of other Broncos since graduation, I believe I have found the right job at the right company. I currently have the opportunity to lead IT, accounting and finance for a potato farm headquartered in southwest Michigan. While this may be a far cry from my hopes and dreams eight years ago, the company’s management, size, mission and future make it the right fit for me.
When making your next move, I encourage you to think about what you value, what you can compromise on and what you can’t, and then ask yourself: is this the right place for me?
Josh Reeves graduated from the Haworth College of Business in 2009 with a degree in computer information systems. Starting with his internship while at WMU, he has enjoyed an 11-year career working in IT in the greater Kalamazoo area. Josh is currently the director of finance and IT at Walther Farms and lives in Portage, Michigan, with his wife, who is also a Bronco.