As a 2016 graduate, there are several things I wish people had warned me about the “real world”, specifically my first week in the real world. My education gave me the creative skills, my internships had me office-ready, and my interview was aced. But, the thing they don’t tell you about work is that it is so much more than work. So, here are the 4 things I wish someone had told me before I made my way into the office world.
- You are going to be exhausted. You wouldn’t expect to be, right? I mean you’re likely at a desk, at minimum, half the day. Oh, but you won’t be tired at night. You’ll come home, exhausted from being “on” for 8 straight hours, take a 2-4 hour nap, wake up and then stay up until 1 or 2am. If you can, put yourself in bed with a book and a calming candle around 10 or 11, even if you aren’t tired yet. Trying to get on a normal sleep schedule as soon as possible.
- Buy Tupperware. Everybody’s journey into the working world is different. But, I live alone and know for a fact that I had zero Tupperware. Sure, I had a cute lunch box to take to work…but nothing to put my lunch in. And no one wants a lose sandwich. Make sure to pick up a pack because you’re not going to want to buy lunch every day at work.
- Don’t forget to bring creature comforts. The desk/cube/office/table you’re sitting at is going to be your home-away-from-home for 8 hours a day, so try to make it cheery. No, you don’t have to go pinterest wild, but try at least to have some favorite things – like lotion (office climates are weirdly drying), an extra stick of deodorant, your favorite snack, or even a back-up sweater or pair of shoes.
- Don’t bring your phone (everywhere). Now, I know this may be second nature to many of you…but i was shocked at my first job how many new hires would just bring their cellphone to meetings/everywhere they went. Although your co-workers might be on their phones to varying degrees, don’t assume anything. Try to keep it in your desk drawer, at least the first week or two, until you find out your own manager’s preference. You might have someone that is really relaxed with phone usage, or you might have someone who sees constant cellphone use as a major issue. Either way, it’s better to play it safe at first.