Hello lovely William & Mary (et al) community! I hope everyone is having a great summer, and not melting in the heat like I was when the AC broke in my office building the other day. (Yikes!) While I like to include everyone in my blog posts, this one is going out to all of the recent graduates. If you’re anything like my recently graduated friends you’re either about to start or just started your “grown-up” jobs. I know it can be a little intimidating to realize that the days of long winter and summer breaks are over but I promise you that in the case of entering the “real world” parting doesn’t have to be full of (such sweet) sorrow. It can be pretty fun, albeit very different out here. In the words of the forever famous band Guns’N’Roses, welcome to the jungle. Here are a few things I’ve learned in my year long experience out here in the wild.
T.V. Shows are 100% Lying to You
Yes, it would be completely amazing to have a rent controlled, huge apartment in a major U.S. city that’s large enough to host lots of events in but, let’s be honest, if you’re a recent graduate that’s a pretty unrealistic expectation. (Sorry to put a damper on your parade.) I know lots of T.V. shows display our favorite characters graduating to live in luxurious apartment buildings with an amazing location and all of the amenities but those are just T.V. shows. I’m not saying you’ll live in a tiny box, I’m just saying that Williamsburg prices and big city prices are two very different things.
It’s Okay to Take Vacations
If you’ve been reading anything on Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post or even CNN I’m sure you’ve seen the “people work too hard these days” article that discusses the problem of purposefully being overworked. No one can get anything done if they’re stressed out all of the time, and there’s no office competition on who can accumulate the most unused vacation days. (Plus, you usually can’t carry everything over anyway.) Just because you’ve said goodbye to the days of scheduled spring, summer and winter breaks doesn’t mean you have to leave them behind you forever.
Everyone Gets Nervous
Every month we have these staff meetings, and there’s more than one member of the “executive team” that stutters and rambles through his section of the meeting. If you’re nervous for your first meeting (or even just talking to your boss) just know that it’s perfectly normal. This is a new experience, OF COURSE you’re a little nervous/intimidated. I’m pretty sure I used the words “awesome” and “excited” a million and one times when I was introducing myself to my coworkers and I lived to tell the tale. Chill out. Take a breath. Everything is going to be fine.
Read the Room
If you’re in a room full of young coworkers who are discussing the latest dog video circulating on Facebook it’s probably safe to bring up that llama meme you saw yesterday. If you’re in a room full of older executive discussing their agendas for the day maybe save the llama conversation for another time. It’s perfectly fine to test the waters sometimes, but try to read the room before you say anything completely out of the blue. Oh, and don’t even get me started on inappropriate personal information in the office. I’m sure this goes without saying, but keep the ~intimate details~ of your life for your close work friends, not for the whole office.
Being Young Is NOT a Bad Thing
The coworker closest in age to me is a full four years older, and I used to be really self conscious about it. Then I realized, no one really cares how old I am, they only care how confident and competent I am in my work. Sure, all questions technology related are automatically sent to me first (which is ironic because computers aren’t my forte) and I’m in charge of all the social media (which is actually pretty awesome tbh) but that’s not a bad thing! Just because people in your office will ask you about twitter doesn’t mean they don’t respect you or your work. My only advice is be careful with generational colloquialisms. I said “that’s dope” in front of my boss once and he was a strange mix of confused and slightly offended until I explained what that meant to him.
You’re young, you’re fun and you have your whole life in front of you! Why spend your time trying to do the exact same things you did when you were in college when you have a whole world at your finger tips?! Take a spontaneous day trip or join an intramural sports league. I’m not saying ditch your hobbies, I’m simply telling you to open the door to new opportunities. And don’t crack the door open a little and peek your head out first, really go for it! This year I’ve gone on an southern road trip, done a hike that required me literally climbing a rock wall and I went skydiving. Was some of that low key terrifying? Of course it was, I jumped out of a perfectly functioning plane! But, did I love every second of it? You bet I did.