The beginning of the American dream starts with hard work, which more often than not, eventually pays off. This payoff, however, does not come immediately. We often have to switch jobs, and sometimes careers,before we begin to taste the sweetness of success. The thing is, no one tells you that in college. You are enticed with the possibility of instant success because of your ability to make it to and walk across the podium in one piece.
The beginning of the American dream starts with hard work, which more often than not, eventually pays off. This payoff, however, does not come immediately. We often have to switch jobs, and sometimes careers,before we begin to taste the sweetness of success. The thing is, no one tells you that in college. You are enticed with the possibility of instant success because of your ability to make it to and walk across the podium in one piece. Starting fresh out of college and into the jobosphere,however, we are given instant feedbackfrom reality, letting us know that the reality of a real job is far from what we thought it was. Here are 5 ways the reality of a real job differs from the romanticized perception of thesame.
Organizational Culture v. Your Culture
By your mid to late twenties you must have come to grasp the concept of who you are. You probably haven’t accepted it yet, but you know by now whether or not you’re a morning person, a people person, an introvert or a professional ex stalker. As important as this realization is for you, it is important to note that your “self culture” has no bearing when it comes to the organizational culture of your work place. If you gain employment at a company with an organizational culture which celebrates everyone’s birthday with a loud chant of “happy birthday” before you’ve had your first sip of coffee, get ready to adapt to that culture without losingyourself in the process. The same is applicable for a company with an intense competitive culture that celebrates late nights and working through the holidays. You’ll have to get used to sleeping less than 8 hours, gulping caffeinated beverages on a seemingly hourly basis and missing great 4th of July parties. This sucks in epic proportions(,) I know, but you must understand that fitting into your company’s organizational culture while starting out is of great import to your career. Welcome to the real-work world.
Co-workers v. Friends
Coworkersare sometimes an annoying, whiny, gossipy, secretly back stabbing and tattle-telling bunch. Other times they are just like Lindsay Lohan and company in Mean Girls, remitting the same behavior at the water cooler and in the break room (Think #youcantsitwithus). Inasmuchas you’ll share 8+ hours a day with a coworker, do not be lured into thinking they are your friends, unless the friendship began before you started working there, and/or you guys share a number of outside experiences separate from the job. My advice is to look for a mentor amongst the coworkers and keep the interaction with coworkersminimal within the confines of professionalism and slight expression of self vis-a-vis light conversations about weather, fashion and coffee. Resist the urge togossip about anyone and anything…especially your boss, regardless of the lure of reciprocal information fostering some sort of bond. Trust me, it will ALWAYS turn out bad.
Passive Aggressive v. Aggressive
In the real world, when someone is upset withyou or has a hang-up about your job, he or she voices thesame – hopefully, in a non-aggressive manner- and you fix the problem or issue. In a real job, more often than not, your boss remains in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction with your work, simply because he/she is the boss.
What is also true is the fact that regardless of these feelings of dissatisfaction, most bosses understand that employees are a valuable commodity, so they’ll keep you around as long as they can. Their sentiments, however displaced they may bewill be morphed into passive aggressive outbursts and comments that will leave you lost in wondering contemplation thinking about what you did wrong, if anything. This, of course, will inevitably lead to feelings of frustration, self defeat and overall lack of confidence in self. My advice to you is, unless you are aware of a major gaffe you made somewhere, don’t worry about it. If it were something you did which had an effect on the company, you would’ve been notified.
Better yet, such things are left for performance evaluations, so don’t worry your pretty head about things you know not. Many times people in places of authority create expectations of others from their own experiences. As such, they become blind to efforts of others simply because it falls short of what they expected of others, especially as these expectations are almost never communicated. Again, don’t worry your pretty head about what is in another person’s not so pretty head.
Vacation v. Vacation
Think of an exotic location – complete with the margaritas, cabanas and aqua blue waters. Then come back to reality, think of that same picture, with an open lap top, because in reality when you have a real job, you WILL do some work while on vacation. Needy clients can’t wait. Deadlines must be met. There will be an issue with the server so you’ll have to reset your password and while talking on the phone to figure out if the new password works you’ll be reminded about that on-going project that you started before vacation…..
What I am saying is, it is never going to end. You are always going to be working – weekends, vacations, holidays….you will work. An email here, a text here, a letter here, it is all work. If you have dreams of starting your own company eventually, then you must be ready to work twice as hard to gain the skills, resilience and exposure required of a solo practitioner. If you are aspiring to stay within the organization and move ranks towards that coveted office with a view, then you have to work three timesas hard, more than the other 20+ people vying for your spot. The sooner you come to terms with the fact that being a working adult sucks all around, the easier it will be to keep working hard toward your goal.
More Money More Problems
So you’re working now. You have some cash, and ramen noodles are no longer a culinary staple in your kitchen. Finally. However, you’re also a professional now, so you have more responsibilities. More networking events to attend, student loans to pay, cocktails with girlfriends because it’sFriday, dry cleaning bills, new suits….next thing you know you’re back to the ramen noodles. You’ll get to realize that having money is an illusion that goes by as fast as the millennial summer in New York. You’ll definitely need more money, so you need to work longer, smarter and harder to earn the promotion and money which comes with it. Which as expressed in the 5 points above, sucks.
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