Congratulations! You got the job, finally! No more part time crap for you. Oh no, you have arrived to corporate America and are ready to dominate. You’re going to go out there and run the show! You’re going to have a favorite mug! Your own desk! And file reports and do things…adult grown-up job things…. What does it mean? What should you expect?
Here are 5 harsh truths I wish I knew entering the office world as a “grown-up” entry level professional.
You Will See Your Friends Less
There won’t be a lot of time to enjoy 11:00 a.m. coffee with your friends. While the early seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S did a pretty good job of showing the ups and downs of working and finding your career in your twenties, they got this one thing pretty wrong. I worked 2 jobs, took a full time course load and was in a sorority, so I was excited about the prospect of just working a set schedule every week, not having homework and all the free time it would entail. The thing is, office jobs can be very exhausting…. either you are bored out of your mind and time goes in slow motion, or you are super busy and by the time the work day is over you are wiped out. Happy hour with the girls sounds fun, but taking off your pants, having a glass of wine and watching Jane the Virgin without anyone asking you how to change the toner in the printer sounds better (not always but often).
Yes if you landed a good job you’ll have your weekends, but the days will be reserved for running errands, sleeping in and on the worst weekends sleeping off a hangover. You may be able to pull a few of your girlfriends out to the bar with you, but it’s still hard to coordinate because they also have jobs and errands to run. For most of us, the days of showing up announced at your bestie’s house are over.
You Probably Won’t Meet Your Soulmate There
Remember Jim and Pam, from The Office? Probably the most perfect love story ever (second only to Cory and Topanga). Yeah, that isn’t likely to happen at your new job.
The idea that you will meet a guy as awkwardly adorable as Jim in real life is possible, but you probably won’t get to be 5 feet away from him 5 days a week. He probably won’t take you up on the roof to eat pizza during bad office parties. You might develop a work brother who will text you when one of your coworkers does something truly ridiculous or give you a look when someone prolongs an already tortuous meeting by asking a dumb question. You may even go sneak drinks at lunch, but there is only one Jim Halpert.
You will make work friends but you won’t always get along
It’s important to get along with your coworkers. Sometimes you need someone to talk about work with who really understands what a day at your office is like. But when you spend 40 hours a week with someone, relationships are bound to happen. Everyone develops a work bestie but don’t expect to meet your future M.O.H. Either she will be way too chipper in the morning or will “accidentally” throw you under the bus during a meeting or drive you crazy by constantly forwarding a call to you from someone you begged her not to. I’m not saying you can’t be friends with your coworkers. I’m just saying some days you will rejoice that they took a sick day.
You will still have days where you want to wear yoga pants and flip flops
When I got my first office job it was right before my last semester of college. I went home for Christmas break and my mom took me shopping for professional clothes. The first month of the job I woke up early, made breakfast, curled my hair and dressed to impress every day. This quickly faded once I got into a routine. The shiny has worn off and when I saw my office manager come in wearing Khakis I decided I could go slightly more casual than my blazers and pencil skirts.
You will still have days where you stayed up too late, are having an emotional moment or just want to stay in bed and Netflix, but now you aren’t deciding if skipping class is worth it. You’re debating if you want to save the sick day or calculating how much the lost hours would take from your paycheck. Which brings me to my next point…
All your money problems won’t disappear
Yes there is some comfort in knowing how much you can expect each month, and the word “Salary” sounds so adult, but this steady income won’t make all your money problems disappear. Typically for 2 reasons.
- Uncle Sam knows about that new paycheck you are getting, and not only does that mean taxes it means you no longer qualify to defer those student loans.
- Mo Money Mo Problems. It’s easy to get caught up by those extra zeros on your paycheck. The reason people seem to be in the same boat financially even when they have an increase in income is because they subconsciously raise their price of living. They see the check and think, “I can afford to live alone, screw having a roommate.” “I can totally afford getting my nails done every other week.” “I need more work clothes.’ Pick your poison.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go back to the days of serving fries or cleaning fitting rooms for anything. “Adult jobs” have a lot of perks like insurance, being able to go to the doctor when you’re sick, regular hours and steady a paycheck, but it is still working. My plan? Become my own boss. One of my favorite bloggers shared a quote during a recent interview she did for the site, “Find what you love and let it kill you.” Do your time and pay your dues, but don’t get stuck in a vicious cycle. Find your passion and make it your career.