May 8, 2018

Post-Grad Life: 4 Key Tips to Stay Happy at a Real Job

I'm a few years post-grad (four in a month - wow!) but I sympathize with those who are newly entering the workforce! You're excited, nervous, and proud when you land that first post-grad Big Girl Job. You're going to take the corporate world by storm!

...but two or three months in the monotony of routine starts setting in.

When you're crammed onto the overpacked subway at 7:30am on a Tuesday morning, you miss sleeping in for lectures that didn't start until 10 or 11am. Especially when it's because you have an 8am all team meeting that really isn't helpful.
How to survive post-grad working life

When you're receiving your paycheck and see how your formerly decent starting salary gets decimated by taxes, you miss living the broke student life, but not worrying too much about finances.

When your coworkers are all getting on your nerves, you miss the days of choosing the people you spend the bulk of your days with.

How to love your job

When you're coming home late, just to eat a frozen dinner or order in before doing it all over again the next day, you miss the variety of your undergraduate days, when every day was a new adventure with varied classes, extracurriculars, and free time for friends.

Funny work memes

Guys, I'm not writing this post to depress you. I'm writing it to prepare you. Learn from an old(ish) hat, because it is totally doable to enjoy working a real job! Here's how to stay sane and happy as a 9-5er (which, let's be real, is an 8-6er these days).

How to Love Working Life

1. Choose your job carefully, if you have choice.

Not everyone has a choice of jobs and if you only have one option, that's fine. That's still great! You got a job! The rest of these tips can still help you enjoy it, whatever it is! As (I think) Oprah said, 'do what you must, until you can do what you love.'

If you do have a choice, be intentional. Especially as a broke student (and especially as a student saddled with lots of student debt) it can be very tempting to go for the highest paying job. But happiness matters! 10k more can make you happier, I don't disagree with that at all, but it's not worth it if you'll hate very minute you're at work.

How to stay happy working 9-5
Choose the fun job, be the happy girl!
The fact is that, for most people, you spend the majority of your waking time at work. Something that pays less, but makes you happier, can be the smarter choice. Happiness has real value! If you enjoy your work, you're also likely to be more commitment and produce better results. That can get you noticed for a promotion and/or raise - I have had a job before where I signed a 30k salary job offer and had raised that to 60k within a year.

2. Befriend your coworkers.

In the wake of #MeToo, I am absolutely not recommending that you try to make your boss your new drinking buddy. That will not go well. Be reasonable with this one - common sense goes a long way!

That said, you're probably spending the majority of your waking time. That means you spend significantly more time with your coworkers than you do with friends, family, or even your significant other. If you get to know, and like, your coworkers, that'll make your time at work much more pleasant!

As the fad with the relationship exercise that claimed to be able to make you fall in love with anyone, it is possible to make yourself like most people, if you take enough of an interest in them, their hopes, their dreams, and what makes them who they are. Choose to like your coworkers!

Funny Nerdy Meme

As a human, you can probably find something that you share in common with any other human. Focus on that!

3. Plan for tax season.

If you're crying at how much money taxes are taking from you, plan ahead for tax season and you might be able to get some of that back.

Tax Season prep

Did you make a charitable donation? Track it.

Did you make a work-related purchase? Track it.

Did you have major health costs? Track them.

So on, so forth. Knowing what you can write off is key, so figure that out as early as possible and then track those expenses, so you have less of a headache (and more of a chance at a positive outcome) come tax season!

4. Find Balance.

Be diligent and hard working, but don't work yourself to the bone. Don't allow work and other obligations to become your entire life.

Achieving work life balance

Make time for self care! I'll make a separate post with my favorite forms of self care, but even aside from the ones that I recommend, anything that allows you to indulge yourself and feel happy is worthwhile!

If you're a student, what are your post-grad plans?

If you're in the workforce, what are your best tips for maintaining happiness?

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