3.27.2013

What the Professional World Has Taught Me (Thus Far)

It has already been about seven months since I have graduated from college. That is insane! This also means that I have been in the full-time professional world of desks, ringing phones, and windowless offices for seven months. Actually, if you include my part-time position I had before this job, I have been in a professional setting for about two years now. 

I'm still in the process of figuring out what I am supposed to do with my life. Do I feel that I'm supposed to stay in a desk job for the rest of eternity? Um, definitely not. I have no doubt that this is where I'm supposed to be at this point in time, but bigger things are yet to come, I can feel it. For now, I just have to make the most of the experience. After all, nothing you do in life is done without learning something, right?

Which had me thinking earlier today, what has working in an office environment taught me so far? I mean, besides how to make a perfect cup (or five) of instant coffee, or the truth that you can never have too many file folders. 

1. Office environments can be intimidating.
Business environments are all work and no play. And...that's kind of the point. The walls are white, the chairs are squeaky, people walk up and down the hallways focused on nothing but accomplishing their next task. Not to mention, the constant drone of copy machines and the clicking of keyboards are enough to drive you crazy if you let it. You feel like you have to just kind of melt into this alternate version of yourself when you're at work...which really isn't the case. If you do this...you'll be miserable. The office doesn't have to be a scary place. Just stay calm and work hard. 

2. If you look better, you'll feel better.
No, I don't mean that to be as bad as it sounds. I'm just speaking from experience. I'm really good (or, bad I guess would be the better word) at sleeping until the last possible minute in the mornings, and then showing up to work with wet hair and an outfit that I threw on in two seconds. I can honestly say that when I do that, my days aren't as good because I feel like I look terrible and unprofessional. Sometimes I think this even contributes to the level of productivity that I have in a day. On days that I wake up, make my hair and make-up look decent, and put on a really work appropriate outfit, I feel more confident, leading me to be in a better mood all day long. There's an old saying that says "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." I kinda have to agree with it. 

3. It's okay to be friendly, but don't let people walk all over you.
Most jobs out there require you to have a certain amount of sternness about you. You have to know your stuff, and know how to stand your ground. This is a good thing, but often difficult to do, especially when you're like me and you're afraid to give someone bad news. There's nothing wrong with being firm and sticking to your guns, but you don't have to be rude when you do it. Be friendly to people you talk to, whether it's co-workers or clients over the phone, but know where you stand. People will treat you with the same level of courtesy you treat them with., and if they still want to scream at you...they're just jerks. And unfortunately, a lot of people out there are jerks. 

4. Don't sweat the small stuff.
I stress at work A LOT because I just want to be good at what I do. The thing I'm slowly learning though is, worrying to death about every little thing is unnecessary...not to mention unhealthy! Things are going to go wrong every now and then...that's just life! All you can do is do your job, and do it well. Try your hardest, and deal with the bumps in the road as they come. Otherwise, you will wake up every morning and shed a few tears over the idea of another nine hours at your work desk. 

5. High school never really ends.
It's unfortunate, but true. There's still going to be gossip in the hallways. People are going to blame things on others just to keep themselves out from under the spotlight. Coworkers aren't always going to be friendly...some won't even say anything when you tell them hello in the hallways. Everyone has different personalities. However, there will be people you can depend on to. There is always going to be someone that you can go to for advice or encouragement. 

These are just things that I have been thinking on a lot lately. I am on a journey to being more positive, and realizing these types of things make that journey a lot easier! It's just always important to remember...every job is important, even if you feel like it's not. You're helping somebody, somewhere, even though you may not be able to see the results. The present is not necessarily the future. I have a lot of life ahead of me, and most likely a lot of different career opportunities. They just have to be reached one step at a time. 

I hope this maybe encourages someone who may be in a similar situation with their job. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel!

Have a great evening!

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