This is what work is really like

You have probably had a job before. Maybe tons of them, but your first real job is a different thing from all those jobs you have done before.

When you worked as a waitress or a bar help to get you through college the job was a means to an end. The end was getting the degree. After you’ve graduated, the job is the end. Not the last job necessarily, but the job now is the means and the end. It is a subtle difference but it makes a change in your work life.

Your employer will view you differently

Gone are the days of you being cut any slack because you’re a student. An employer has brought you on board to do a job and if you don’t there will be consequences. You will also be given fewer opportunities to get the job done.

There is an equation between employee and employer. In return for regular dollars, health care and probably some other benefits too that the employee has to deliver. If you don’t they won’t carry you. It’s not like turning in an essay late and getting away with it.

Long hours and stress are not the norm

You want your job to be demanding and stretch you, but once you have your feet under the table, you will be able to prioritize and get the job done in the time allotted. Sure there will be occasions when a project is due or a deadline looms and you will need to press a little harder, but you will find that you develop flexibility and an innate sense of what fits where.

Hate and love are extremes

Your first job out of college will be a formative experience. The chances are it is a compromise of sorts – it probably is not going to be your dream job. Whatever happens, it will give you experience and it will give you a platform to move to the next thing.

Think of it as a stepping stone then if you really feel the CEO couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag, you can take the experiences, learn from them and move on.

You’re the bottom of the totem pole

This simply is not the truth – well not the whole truth. There’s a better way to look at it. You are the one with the least experience. Here’s the good news, the next person to be hired after you now takes on the role.

Even if they have more job experience they have less experience of this exact job. Work life is a progression you start off and work your way onwards.

There is also no predestined track. You might not be the best manager material. Good managers are hard to find, it is a skill. You might be a brilliant manager, but find you miss doing the job.

The best advice?

Take the journey on board. Enjoy it. Your first job is one in a stage and there will be a second one soon.