When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to graduate and move on from five-page papers, late-night classes and all the other countless stresses that come along with school.
I was so eager, I accelerated my college career and graduated a semester early. I can’t begin to tell you how many people questioned me for wanting to be done with college.
But I was ready to begin adulthood, get my foot in the door with my career and be done with syllabuses forever.
Fast forward to January 2016, and I was waiting for my name to be called to walk up to the stage and receive my college diploma.
The first few months of post-college life were rough. I’m not going to lie. I was suddenly filled with doubts, questioning if I made the right decision to bust my ass in school to graduate early.
I was freaked out that I didn’t have a job lined up after college, I was ridiculously bored because all my friends were back at school and I didn’t know where my life was headed.
But with patience and persistence (and networking) I got my first big girl job.
Hello, adulthood. Hello, 9-5 (or in my case 10-6) life. I was so excited and ridiculously nervous to actually be working and starting my career.
However, your first adult job will not necessarily be everything you hoped for and more, and I quickly learned that. Here are some things you will learn when working your first adult job after college.
1. The money might not be that great.
This might seem like an obvious one, but so many millennials forget your first job after college will not have you rolling in the dough.
You’ll be working your tush off and might feel like you’re not getting the right compensation for it, but be patient. In time, your hard work will be recognized and rewarded.
2. People in higher positions might take advantage of your role.
Being a young 20-something fresh out of college, there’s a good chance the higher ups might rely on you… a little too much. You might find yourself being stuck at the office late completing a task, or having to do a weekend assignment because your boss asked you to.
Instead of getting easily frustrated and feeling taken advantage of, view these instances as a compliment from your boss or those above you — a sign they trust you with these tasks — and prove to them you’re more than capable of doing them.
3. Be kind to everyone.
One of my absolute favorite quotes is, “Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.”
I remind myself to continue being kind to anyone I come across while at my first job because you never know when you’ll not only run into these people again, but how they can possibly help you somewhere down the road in your career.
Networking is super important at really any stage of your career, but in the beginning is when it’s really most important. Bottom line: There’s no need for bitchiness, just kindness.
4. You might (most likely will) have to work long hours.
Depending on the field you’re in, hours can vary. If you’re going into your first job with the expectation you’ll start and finish at the same time every day, think again.
Some nights, just when you’re about to peace out, your boss might ask you to complete a task, or take your computer home and work on an assignment during off hours.
These long hours are all going to pay off and later on in your career you’ll be grateful you put in the time when you did.
5. You will most likely over-think everything.
I have a fear of making mistakes and looking dumb. Who doesn’t?
Sometimes, however, I’m so fearful of being reprimanded in a work environment that I over-think things wayyyyyyy too much and end up making dumb mistakes.
When I say dumb, I mean I got the date wrong on a celeb’s birthday at work once because I didn’t just Google it to double check. Let’s just say in the digital world, that’s not a simple mistake you want to make.
6. You will doubt yourself.
When you begin your first job out of college, you’ll obviously be surrounded by people who are older and more experienced than you, and man will they flaunt it.
You’ll come across egos on egos on egos. Stay true to who you are and don’t doubt yourself (even though you most likely will). It’s normal to feel intimidated and wonder if you’re worthy or smart enough to be in the position you’re in. Do this once or twice to get it out of your system, then start believing in yourself.
You’re at your new job for a reason. You deserve to be where you are.
Moving on from college and getting started in your career is a scary time. Everyone experiences it. You’re still learning the ropes, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to fail and succeed.
Embrace it, this experience will make you stronger and only prepare you for what’s to come in the future.