5 things I’ve learned one year into my first job
Somehow I’ve been working for over a year now. I have no idea how that happened. Actually, I hit my ‘anniversary’ last month but I just haven’t had a chance to let that sink in. I worked so hard to get where I am and waited for what felt like an eternity to be given an opportunity. Looking back, it’s really been nothing like I expected. Like, not at all. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot from my first job over this past year.
The holidays aren’t the same when you’re working
I never fully appreciated summer and holiday breaks when I was growing up. This year Christmas is on a Tuesday, so I don’t even get a three day weekend out of it. I’m just a part time contracted employee, so I don’t earn any PTO. I’ve always felt like Christmas eve is just as special, so having to work that day is a huge bummer. I mean, at least I do get holidays off so I shouldn’t be complaining at all. But man, those weeklong breaks from school were great, right?
Making friends as an adult is…. hard
I always assumed that as soon as I got hired I’d meet a bunch of new people and have a whole new group of friends. Ha. I met a ton of people and have exactly zero new friends. Everyone at my office has been really nice, but it’s never gone beyond a small talk when you’re forced to kinda deal. I don’t have any hard feelings towards anyone, sometimes people just don’t click. And it’s not like I’m ever in the breakroom (I can’t open the doors) so my time to socialize is pretty cut down.
So, I get it. It’s just a little depressing that everyone I know talks about their work friends and I haven’t gotten to experience that. I feel like I’m missing out on the greatest perk of working, aside from the paycheck.
Speaking of paychecks…
Heartbreak is real and you experience it every time you hand over your paycheck. Oof. Since I’m just a part timer, I’m really not making much of a profit. My beast of a van takes over $100 a month for gas alone. The rest of the money pretty much goes straight to bills. It honestly feels like my bank account never even gets to see my paychecks, it’s just there to pass it along to it’s next stop.
I’m not complaining about being able to pay my bills. It feels like such a dream to know that I’ve got enough coming in to cover my expenses. I know how lucky I am and I’m very grateful of every dollar I earn. But it is scary to be almost 27 and nothing saved for my future. Although hey, silver lining – I’m not allowed to save anyway because of SSI/Medicaid! Oh, I’m sorry, did I say silver lining? I mean panic inducing fact about my life.
Anyway, moving right along.
Calling out of work is nothing like ditching school
Remember when playing hooky was fun? Yeah, it’s not anymore. I learned very fast that calling out of work is nothing but stress and guilt inducing. Now I refuse to call out unless there’s absolutely no way I can make it to work, which yeah, is the way it’s supposed to be. I know. But I always imagined if I needed a self care day for PJ’s and movies with my cat, I’d have no problems calling out. Jokes on you, past me, just typing that scenario out makes me feel sweaty.
It’s okay to set your limits
When I was job searching, I was primarily looking for full time positions. I didn’t want part time. I wanted what I considered a “real job”. A grown up, starting-a-career, 9-5 job. I’d gone to school all day, so I just kind of figured I could handle working all day, too.
I took my current job because it was the first and only offer I’d ever been given. And I think the most important takeaway from this experience has been that I honestly don’t know if a full time position is right for me. Admitting that is pretty scary, because it’s hard to advance and build any time of career through part time positions. But after 5 or 6 hours, even just typing on a computer, I go home in a lot of pain. It might not sound like much, but the constant typing and leaning over a desk puts a lot of strain on my body. Plus, not being able to use the bathroom leads to a looot of cramps. I’m honestly a little surprised I haven’t developed a UTI yet.
I want to be like everyone I know and work all day. For the money, for the experience, for the opportunities to make something decent out of my life. But at least for now, I know what my limits are. And I’ve learned that that’s okay. I’m not doing it because I’m lazy or not good enough, I’m doing it because my body needs something different. So I’m following what it’s telling me. Maybe that means I’ll figure out a side gig. Maybe in the future I’ll work from home, where I everything is set up perfect for me and I can eat and go to the bathroom as much as my little heart desires. I honestly don’t know. But I do know that it’s okay for my career path to be a little different.