What assumption of yours was broken shortly after you started working?
My parents are both fairly educated and have great jobs, but neither of them is in the business world. So I used to have some embarrassingly naive views about Corporate America. I learned a lot after my first year of business undergrad. And much more now, after graduating and working full time a few years.
My first dumb assumption is I assumed there was some level of prestige and excitement around any type of corporate work in a downtown highrise building. I pictured anyone wearing a suit and tie to work was very smart.
I quickly learned just how (for lack of a better word) shitty a lot of office jobs are. Whether it be operations accounting, or risk and compliance, etc. A lot of this "" type work would be universally unpleasant work. In fact, these types of jobs often have the same kind of internal controls or approval systems that a fast-food worker would be subject to. There are (many) people whose whole jobs are basically just to maintain an ERP system for the company. Not to disrespect doing that for a living, but front-office types of roles are obviously way better for an ambitious and capable person. WSO sometimes gets criticized for the hyper-focus on prestige, but I think it's pretty justified to steer people away from a lot of back-office, retail banking, etc type jobs. I think they would suck for most college-educated and ambitious people.
2. The Importance of Endurance
Another thing I didn't know was the importance of endurance. Whether it be for the right or wrong reasons, being able to continue working and taking career steps is probably the biggest contributor to long-term wealth building. So many of my university peers have gotten a good opportunity and left with nothing else lined up (quitting is especially bad). This really, really hampers where you will be in 5 years compared to someone who can stick with it.
3. A Vast Difference in Capabilities
The third thing is I can understand why there are pretty big pay gaps within companies. I'm not saying CEOs should be earning 300x more than an average worker. But it's fairly justified IMO. Like what I mentioned about some back-office type jobs, working has made me realize the vast difference in capability between different types of workers. Not to mention - the expectations of different types of roles are vastly different as well. There is a pretty big level of dependency on a few revenue generators within a company. So it's fair that those people get paid a lot more.