My first job right out of college was working as a prepress technician / web developer for a regional newspaper in West Tennessee. Ok, so a slight correction there: I had to finish a Spanish class that summer, so I clocked-out mid-day a few days a week to drive back to campus for an hour or so.

The interview went well and I was called with an offer a few days later. It was my first full time work that came with benefits, as meager as they were. Samantha and I were packing up to move off campus when the call came in. I received a second call from the department manager at a larger newspaper, whom I had worked with as a client, the same day I accepted. I told him I had just accepted another offer, to which he laughed and said he would have paid better. I knew this was probably true, but I still had to deal with that damn Spanish class.

I reported to work by 6 a.m. every weekday 15 miles away. I often stayed past 9 p.m. waiting for files to come in. Because it was hourly, I was able to earn a lot of overtime, but the money still wasn't enough. Aside from other reasons, I quit the job after completing the class at around the 90 day mark. I didn't have another one lined up, but I knew it would be in Nashville.

I wonder what would have happened if I had accepted the other job. My car would likely have given out at some point with the long commute, assuming we had found a place closer to work. My career advancement options would have been better, but not as great as a similar role in Nashville. The recession was also just around the corner.

I look back and think of that first "adult" job as a failed experiment of sorts. I came home exhausted and knowing I had to be back at work early the next morning. It only took a few weeks to realize that it wasn't going to work out. I didn't mind the work, learned new things and generally got along well with my co-workers.

Still, my newspaper career was over about as fast as it had started.