It's been three (almost four!) long weeks. And I know, three (almost four!) weeks is nothing compared to the years I'll spend working after college, but for a girl who's never had a full time job before, they've been long ones.
I started officially working somewhere in my first half of high school. Jobs were odd and scarce – it was mostly me helping to run events through my school's music program and making a few bucks that way. I volunteered at my local farmer's market on Saturday mornings. Then I bumped it up a bit to dog sitting. By the time my senior year of high school came around, I was running through a restaurant, taking orders with one hand and cleaning tables with the other. This became my first real job – getting familiar with the inner workings of a restaurant in my local pizza parlor. It was part time, but perfect for my senior year and the summer before college, giving me time to prepare for the upcoming year and go on some final adventures before my friends all parted ways.
This summer, though, I found myself with a full time job. 40 hours a week, 8:30 to 5:00. 5 days a week. Standard office job. I even wear heels to work every day – and since I walk to work, it's always a dangerous journey to walk through the unevenly paved alley in them.
It's been three (almost four!) long weeks, but I've learned a lot of valuable lessons in my first real "adult" job. I've been having a good time and learning more about myself each day.
First of all, office perks are real, guys. You start to build up a friendly banter with the people around you, and you get to meet and make friends with coworkers you otherwise would never meet. You get rolling chairs, fancy technology that you can't help but crash sometimes (I swear, the receipt printer totally stopped working all on its own – I didn't shove a check in too fast!), and a surprising amount of food.
My job is also a customer service job, and I get to meet a lot of interesting people and hear their stories. I absolutely love talking to people, so striking up random conversations while helping people is insanely addictive. I get an opportunity to really build my interpersonal skills as well as my technical skills.
But these are true of any job. You get worthwhile experience and hopefully a few friends out of the mix. Oh, and you get money, too, which, as any college student would know, is in very high demand.
But with a full time job, you get more money. Great, right? You also get a chance to really see what the rest of your life has the potential to be like. Now that I'm working a full time job, I understand that I'm likely going to be seeing the same schedule after graduation. Now's my chance to adapt to it – or decide that it's not for me. Maybe I want something more flexible, or with more running around. Maybe I want something with more night hours, or something where I'm not interacting with people. Now's the time to find these things out, because who knows – you might need to get a major change in order.
You also get a chance to really learn how to manage your time. I wake up before my dad and brother every day, and I have to learn how to manage each morning – something that I might not need to do with a part time job. I have to plan adventures with my friends and family on weekends, because weekdays just aren't available anymore. Sometimes, I go out after 5 on weekdays, but then I have to reign myself in and be back in bed by midnight for me to actually wake up early the next day. It's become quite the experience – but I'm learning a lot about myself and about my habits.
Now's the perfect time to experiment and get a full time job, and see if you're really suited for the workforce after college. If you find that you're not ready, and that you need to make some changes to your lifestyle, that's great! You have plenty of time to do so. Worse comes to worst, and the job is over in three months. You get to go back to college and back with your friends, giving you months of free time that many people with full time jobs won't get until retirement. Plus, you get some cash to splurge on those weekend summer adventures.
Happy job hunting to all those still looking – and if your only option's a full time job, then I recommend you go ahead and take it. Work hard in order to play hard, and you might just learn something about yourself on the way.