1. You no longer carry that constant, all-encompassing weight of dread and exhaustion upon your shoulders that you could never shake when you were at that Job From Hell. Evenings and weekends are now happy times in which to do fun things, instead of sitting in a darkened room, exhausted, lethargically refreshing the same website and reminding yourself constantly of how many more hours you’ve got left where you can be Not At Work.
2. You finally start to understand why some people are workaholics. When that over-enthusiastic friend of yours used to gush reverentially about their job being their “calling”, you would nod and smile along whilst inwardly cringing with deep visceral horror at the thought of having a life that revolved around work. Now you find yourself thinking about your current projects all the time and you quite like it. Maybe workaholics really do just love what they do, and isn’t that actually pretty cool?
3. Mornings, even Monday mornings, no longer make you want to drown yourself in the shower. Waking up is so much easier when you know you’re going to enjoy yourself all day. You even stop hissing at strangers who knock into you when you’re on the way to work. You are practically a morning person now.
4. You’re no longer all that concerned with making loads of money. As long as you have enough to eat and pay rent and play a bit on the weekends, you’re cool with whatever. When you were at that Job From Hell, it seemed like they could never be paying you enough for the mental and physical torture you were compelled to endure 9-5, Mon-Fri. Now, payday feels like a cheeky bonus instead of the far-away shore you’ve been doggedly swimming towards each month just to make the grind worth it. Even having a big chunk of your salary eaten by student loans and taxes no longer inspires any real ire.
5. The days zip past at a brisk pace. Is it 5 o clock again already? You think back to when you were at that Job From Hell and you and your coworkers used to draw little clock faces on a sheet of paper and shade them in at fifteen-minute increments to try to force the day to go faster (it never worked). You laugh derisively at that memory whilst feeling incredibly sorry for your past self.
6. You get behind on all your regular favourite websites because you’re too focused on your work to goof around on the internet during the day, and too energised in the evenings to waste time in front of the computer. It feel like you’re growing apart from old friends, and you promise you’ll catch up with them all soon. It’s just that you’ve been, like, SO busy at work and stuff.
7. When co-workers give you advice now, you honestly appreciate it and take it on board instead of getting all butt-hurt. When you care about what you do it’s so much easier to embrace constructive criticism. At the Job From Hell, everything sounded like nitpicking and you would have happily fed your Micro-Manager into the shredder just for questioning your telephone manner.
8. You worry a lot. You worry about losing your job, not even because of financial repercussions but because you will have to stop doing something you really love. You worry about getting sick and having to take time off, because you will miss out on all the important stuff going on and will get behind on everything. For perhaps the first time in your working life, you now actually give quite a significant number of fucks. And that’s scary.
9. You no longer shuffle and mumble when people ask you what you do. Even if your job isn’t socially-approved humble-bragging material, you still love the shit out of it and you don’t care who knows it. ‘Yeah, I’m an elephant-washer at the zoo. I just get to hang out all day with capering elephants while they squirt water at me. It’s pretty goddamn sweet. And you’re an investment banker, huh? That’s… nice.’
10. You get the deep sense of personal satisfaction and self-validation that comes from finally getting a job in your field of interest. Suddenly the extortionately expensive degree you’ll be paying for until you’re grey and wrinkly doesn’t seem like such a huge waste of everything. Bonus points if you actually regularly USE the stuff you learned at University in your daily working life. Congratulations, you rare unicorn, you.