Some people always pick the wrong guys…but I don’t have a problem in that department. I guess I kind of used to…. yes, I totally used to pick the wrong guys, but now, I have a more “grown-up” type of issue. I am constantly picking the wrong jobs.
The thought of the term “real world” is scary enough to make you grimace when approaching graduation. When I received the email from my college advisor about picking up our name cards for the commencement ceremony, I nearly had a panic attack. An even worse feeling is when you realize graduation is approaching and you still have no job. While sleeping until noon under my parents’ roof doing absolutely nothing all day sounded great, I knew that would get old really fast.
In order to avoid this pajama day-every day phenomenon, I put on my big girl (trouser) pants and decided to work my butt off. With several internships and many anxiety-driven trips to my career advisor’s office, I had the confidence to nail every application that passed my way. While radio silence passed through my inbox for weeks, my confidence slowly faded.
After THREE trips home (that’s 1,290 miles to be exact) I finally convinced an employer that I was worthy.
On my first day, I felt like a million bucks. I had my own email? My own brand new laptop? My own phone extension? Wow, the corporate life made me feel so important and grown up. I thought to myself, I could definitely get used to this.
Approximately 70 days or so later, I found myself crying nightly, missing college daily, and feeling a major shock to my ego hourly. Turns out, adjusting to the real world was a lot harder than I thought. It only took two and a half months at my first job to realize that, and upon that realization, I was out the door.
The little voice in my head was replaying every detail of what just happened, and I just had so many unanswered questions.
If I was such a good student, how could I be such a disappointing employee?
Why does everyone I work with seem to solely be looking after himself or herself…
If I’m new, shouldn’t people be willing to train me and teach me properly?
The real world is a dark, harsh place, where everyone is seeking for their individual success and will push the weak ones out of the way in order to get there. I was pushed and fell on my ass, hard. This time, I unfortunately didn’t get up.
Well, I thought to myself, it could only get better from here, right? After all, I had mastered the art of applying to jobs at this point.
The next chapter included a one-way ticket to a new city, filled with mystery and tons of new opportunity. I felt hopeful once more and was actually finding myself getting excited about working again.
Yet, another three months later, here I am again, ranting into my computer like it’s a diary, writing this article.
Entry-level jobs are a lot of work, and a lot of dirty work. I guarantee you any “intern-level task” seen in The Devil Wears Prada, I’ve done at this point. Count every item in the inventory and make an overly impressive excel spreadsheet for your type A supervisor? Done. Take out the trash? Done. Even when your supervisors dirty tissues are inside of the can? Yes, that too.
Fortunately enough, these two jobs have helped me find my inner self. Before entering the real world, I was a cookie-cuter enthusiastic post-graduate communications major. Now, here I am, understanding myself a bit better with every day that I come home from work and let out a big sigh of breath. This vulnerable, confused, twenty-three year old woman suddenly has dreams bigger than the four walls she stares at every day. I used to just want a job, now I want a career, a career where I can be myself and get applauded for it.
If you feel this way also, I promise you are not alone. The real world is bigger than all of us, but once we find our sweet spot within its mystery I’m sure it won’t feel so scary and we won’t feel so small.