So far, you’ve only been dangling your legs in the vast sea of employment. Once you’re fully diving and launching into the next stage of your life, the adult stage, your life will feel like a stranger you’re getting to know for the first time and don’t really understand. So once you’ve passed the brutal phase of sending out resumes and going to interviews, you will land your first official job. This is where it gets tricky. You will find yourself resonating a lot with the five stages of grief. I have outlined what you are about to experience in 5 stages.
After being told that you got the job, you will feel a surge of excitement that is unparalleled to anything you felt before. You’re finally going to be a real person in the real world with a real salary and real co-workers. All in all, sh*t is getting real. You will find your mind racing with way more ideas and plans than you can ever vocalize and get done. You’ll make many to-do lists and prepare yourself to meet your new colleagues, spread your wings and expand your horizons.
Now it’s your first legitimate day of work and your initial excitement is starting to fade. Your employer will start to give you a quick tour of how things run in the office and you will have a hard time catching up. Overwhelmed with information, anxious and now a little terrified, you try to impress your boss and prove to them that you’re not a kid anymore. But the truth is that you still feel like a kid deep down and you miss college. You miss the safety net of your old routines including finals week. You realize that all-nighters are a thing of the past, because now you’re never allowed to be late or sleep in so you’re tired all the time.
You start to feel inadequate as you struggle to memorize your coworker’s name and the rules and instructions that were explained to you on day one. You’ll be bending over backwards trying to impress your boss and prove to them that they hired the right person. You’ll find yourself exposed to office debates and politics for the first time and will feel out of place, shy and insecure. Joining in on the gossip circuit will tempt you, but you’ll feel unwanted. You feel like an imposter, because you start to doubt if you are ready for this! You will wonder if asking for help is perceived as a sign of weakness! But the truth is, being inquisitive and insecure is way better than being silent and faking confidence.
4- Adapting to Your New Normal
This is when you start to get comfortable being uncomfortable. After accepting that your social life won’t exactly be an overflowing fountain of late night outs anymore, you begin to focus more on your work and suddenly you’re as busy as a bee! You now remember all of your coworkers’ names, you’re getting along with them and you’re on a first name basis with your boss. When the next newbie is hired, you will somewhat be confident about training them and won’t feel as lost as before. You will have figured out what works and what doesn’t by now. As you adapt to your new normal, it won’t be as hard but you’ll still find yourself struggling with your time schedule.
5- Falling Into a Rhythm
This is when you start to appreciate reaching the milestone that is your first official job. You have settled into your new routine just as you did at the beginning of college. You have also managed to balance between nurturing your social life and your productivity at work. The lifestyle you are leading now is more hectic and busier than ever so you’ll have to set your priorities straight. You will cut out a lot of old habits from your life due to the time constraint and will start to discover yourself under a new light, a professional light.
You might also find your feelings fluctuating between these 5 stages a lot. In other words, sometimes you’ll feel like you’re finally adapting and then you’d be back at square 1 and feeling nostalgic again! No matter what, keep going.