90 Days In...
A few days ago, I received an email congratulating me - I had worked 90 days! Excuse me...WHAT?!
For lack of better words: holy shit. Three months? A quarter of a year?? I had actually worked a quarter of a year already?
This timeline seemed insane...I honestly felt like I started my job two weeks ago. More than that, I felt like I had literally just graduated and endured a year long period of unemployment. (Looking back, my three month period of unemployment was really not a significant portion of lifetime, but I definitely would not do it again.)
Anyways, as I reflect on the past three months of work, here are the big things I've learned:
- You will mess up - a lot. As a perfectionist, this was the hardest thing to learn in the past few months. No amount of college classes will prepare you for an actual job. Sure, a great education will help, but putting all of this theoretical knowledge into practice is easier said than done (here's looking at you Vanderbilt Comm. Studies Department). However, messing up just means you learn something. Trial and error is the best way to describe the past three months for me - but now I know what to do and what not to do. Plus, don't take it personally - be resilient and grow from the experience. People are genuinely trying to help. This is something I'm still learning. [see quote above - the truest thing to date]
- Don't be scared of long hours. I'm in an entry level job - it's a rite of passage. Longer hours just means more practice...and practice makes perfect, right?
- Coffee is a gem. Enough said.
- People who work real jobs have considerably less time than college students. Hate to break it to you. I used to think people who worked had tons of free time. But in reality, when you leave to go to work at 8 AM and come home at 7 PM with traffic...there's not a whole lot of free time...and you spend it cooking or cleaning during the week. In college - despite homework - you have the freedom to set your own schedule. It doesn't work that way in real life. However, you learn to make time for things that are important to you.
- The fresh-out-of-college 15 is real. Between a snack room, happy hours to meet people, so many company-catered lunches, and sitting in a cubicle for 8-10 hours a day...yikes. My fix? Going on walks during my lunch breaks, waking up an hour earlier to work out, and joining a local November Project tribe (community forces me to continually focus on my fitness).
- Life is really expensive. College was expensive too, but real life comes with rent, utilities, professional clothes, gas money from commuting, and so on. There's so many things I never thought of when I was in school - toilet paper, dish soap, vacuums, wifi. Either I was naive or Vanderbilt spoiled me with 4 years of dorm and meal plan life, but wow, all the little necessities add up quickly. Not to mention - California is stupid expensive (I tell myself I pay for better weather).
- Ask a lot of questions...but also know when to use Google. Demonstrate your eagerness to learn...but don't waste your manager's time on trivial things the Internet will know. Trust me, I wish I knew this earlier on.
- Soak up everything. Read, reflect, listen - soak it all in - work, balance, relationships. I have learned so much about "real life" from listening and asking questions and just becoming a sponge with everyone I've met in San Diego.