Before graduating from college, I had some very unrealistic ideas about what life would be like in the working world.
It turns out, having a real job doesn’t revolve around work trips to Paris and coffee dates with your fashionable co-workers (damn you The Devil Wears Prada).
Here are just a few things that I wish I’d known before I started my first grad job.
1.No one cares about your degree classification.
Receiving a First Class Honours degree felt like a massive achievement at the time, but now it’s just another piece of paper lying in my bedroom drawer.
Since I graduated from college, I have not been asked about my degree classification once (apart from this humble brag *cough, cough*) The moral of the story? If you don’t get the degree you want don’t sweat it. After graduation day no one really cares.
2.There’s absolutely zero rush
When you finish college there’s a crazy amount of pressure to either take a gap year or find a job straight away. I decided to go for the latter, throwing myself into an internship before I’d even graduated. If you can afford it, take a few weeks or months off to enjoy your final summer. Once you start working your time off will be tightly dictated by deadlines and annual leave allowances. You can kiss those 3-month long summers goodbye.
3. Having a graduate wage is amazing
Especially if you’re used to scraping by on part-time bartending tips. Getting an actual grown-up wage can make you feel like a millionaire, which means you’ll probably start spending your money a little recklessly. Who cares though, you can still totally afford that five-star trip to Bali, right? Probably not, but you’ll happily live on beans and toast for few weeks to save up for it.
4. Never be afraid to negotiate
When I got my first work contract, I was so excited to be offered a permanent job that I signed on the dotted line without negotiating my terms. Big mistake. Contracts can seem like a complete minefield if you’ve never had to deal with them before. My advice? Find a mentor or someone that you can trust to help you go over your contract. Know your worth and always ask for more than you actually want (within reason).
5. Office politics are messy
Very, very messy. You should avoid them at all costs. It can be tempting to get involved when all your colleagues are talking about another team member or complaining about a new hire but this is a recipe for disaster. Do your best to get on with everyone and don’t get involved in any office gossip.
6. Routines aren’t always a bad thing
When I graduated, I was terrified of falling into a boring routine. I imagined myself going through the same daily motions like a zombie until the weekend finally rolled around. Having some kind of daily routine is necessary to stay on top of your game but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for boring evenings in in front of the telly. Make the most of your weekdays and don’t just live for the weekends.
7. You’re gonna mess up
Not just once but at least a dozen times. The good news? It’s all part of the learning process. When you secure your first job you will naturally be terrified of failing, but after a while you’ll realise that each time you make a mistake you also learn a valuable lesson. If it happens, just apologise and move on. There’s no point dwelling on an error.
8. The best days of your life aren’t over
Oh please, don’t be so melodramatic. Yes, you will always look back on your college days fondly but there are some pretty great things about joining the working world too. More Freedom, a chance to really grow, and Thursday night drinks with your coworkers to name but a few. Working can be scary and a little bit intimidating at first but trust me you’re going to love it.