10 Things I Learned During My First Year of Work

Today marks my one year work-iversary, if that's a thing. (If it's not a thing, I'm still going to count it as one because then I can write off the two Starbucks I had today as 'celebration' instead of binge-drinking.) It's been quite the year and learning experience. What I mean is that work life has been a challenge, a change, and the beginning of a journey. It's also been learning how to print double-sided. Let's examine:

10. I don't have to use my vacation time when I go to a doctor's appointment. Why didn't anyone tell me this earlier? Why did I need to be told?

My home away from home. (Or maybe this is my home and my apartment is my home away from home. Either works.)

My home away from home. (Or maybe this is my home and my apartment is my home away from home. Either works.)

9. The office can feel like a cage or a castle. Some days I would rather be doing anything else than sitting at my desk trying to work. Other days, sitting at my desk trying to work is a welcome distraction from anxiety and stress. Work is going to be there whether I want it or not (unless I get fired, but please, God, I really need this job), and for that, I am grateful.

8. Learning how to use an industrial printer is a series of trials. (There are no tribulations.) I will never tell how many copies I've had to recycle because of the long-edged vs. short-edged binding dilemma. I firmly believe a printer's license is probably more necessary than a driver's license... I swear, I'm the single-handed driving force behind South America's deforestation problem.

7. I will never see the inside of my home between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ever again unless I'm like deathly-ill or I am granted the holy-grail of workdays: the work-from-home shift.

6. It's okay to be yourself at work. Not your Friday night self, but still yourself. I want my colleagues to know that I'm the communications girl, but I'm also a cat and Instagram lover with a burning desire to hug Ed Sheeran. Also, in return, knowing about my colleagues' kids and personal interests in return is a good way to quickly change the subject should they ever find out how much paper I've wasted while attempting to print.

5. Packing a lunch sucks. Why am I complaining about putting carrot sticks in a plastic baggy? I need to get over myself. But it still sucks and always will and my future kids will probably eat a lot of Lunchables and I ate one for lunch yesterday and it was good.

4. Negotiate the first offer (and don't stop advocating for yourself!) When it comes to negotiating wages or doing literally any other thing in life, ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF. Even though I need to remind myself so much more often, I am a person with abilities and worth. So are you. Remember this when you first get that job offer and every day after. Okay, Oprah mode off.

I was going to caption this photo 'Me and my other boss' but in reality, it's probably just a sweaty student dressed in a Gopher costume who was forced to work new employee orientation.

I was going to caption this photo 'Me and my other boss' but in reality, it's probably just a sweaty student dressed in a Gopher costume who was forced to work new employee orientation.

3. How to say one word in Chinese. In my year of working on the communications for the University's China Center with multiple Chinese-speaking colleagues, I've managed to pick up one Chinese word. Somehow that word was 'caterpillar.'

2. Work is stressful and tiring and time-consuming, exactly as I knew it would be. What I didn't realize was that it'd simultaneously be fun and fulfilling; a place for me to learn and make friends. I feel like that last sentence just described kindergarten, but whatever.

 1. I am so grateful for this job. It's no secret that the first job out of college is hard to get, but I always imagined it could also be hard to like. It didn't turn out like that. The fact that my boss is invested in my professional development and satisfaction in the workplace has made all of the difference. I've said it once and I'll say it again: the people working in higher-education are some of the smartest and nicest folks out there. So thanks, higher-ed, for giving me a home, and a career, and a place to grow. May year two be the year of figuring out the printer and possibly also my healthcare plan.

Gina Van ThommeComment