What Your First Job Teaches You: Your Post-Grad Expectations Vs. The Reality
Congratulations! You've done it. You've gotten your first job out of college. It's an exciting time, almost like the real start of adulthood. The only problem? You're probably doing something really dangerous right now, and chances are, you don't even realize you're doing it. It's something that will jeopardize your happiness for years to come — until you retire, really: You're expecting too much from your job. No I'm not! you say. I'm going into my first job with an open mind and a hunger for knowledge! It's cute that you think that, but the truth is, there are certain things you expect about your first job that just aren't going to pan out.
Going into accounting? Get ready for lots of numbers and lots of disappointment. Excited for your first day working at an actual magazine? Hope you're ready to write captions and sidebars before it folds for good.
This is across the board, people, but we're here to soften the blow. Here are 11 expectations you probably have about your first job (and the life that comes with it) that you can just let go of right now. Hey, call me Debbie Downer, but it's best to be prepared.
Expectation: OMG! I'm rich!
Grown-up job = grown-up paycheck, right?
Reality: Taxes? Insurance? Rent? Bye, bye monies...
Turns out just existing is expensive.
Expectation: FINALLY: Sophisticated, grown-up friends
Your life will be truly glamorous, with all of your new slightly-but-not-creepily-older friends to show you the ways of the Real World.
Reality: The same old cattiness and drama
It's also possible that, in lieu of juvenile drama, you'll be the youngest person in your office by multiple decades and get to feel like the kid trying to sit at the grown up table at Thanksgiving. Take your pick.
Expectation: A spacious office
It will be your own personal haven, a place where you can dance, cry, and shut out the world whenever you need silence for all of those brilliant ideas you'll be having.
Reality: An uncomfortable cubicle
Privacy is a thing of the past. And yes, everyone is watching you eat Doritos at 11 a.m., and they are judging you.
Expectation: Enough money to finally take a real vacation and travel the world
You're really going to get the itch...
Reality: LOL. You have no PTO
Vacation days take approximately twice as long to accrue as you can stand to work at the company.
Expectation: Classy business lunches
You're imagining long lunches, networking with clients? Aww, that's cute.
Reality: Eating at your desk every. Single. Day.
Bonus points if you manage to consume anything with nutritional value in the course of your work week.
Expectation: Happy hours with your coworkers/new BFFs
You know there will be tough days at the office, but everyone will clock out triumphantly at 5 p.m. for a victory cocktail, right?
Reality: Working 'til 9 p.m....on the reg
Tough days at the office just turn into tough nights at the office — and you better still be in by 9 a.m. tomorrow, missy.
Expectation: Hot office romances
Barack and Michelle met at work. The love of your life could be just a few cubicles away.
Reality: Everyone you're interested in is married
You're old now. Start checking for rings before you flirt. Seriously.
Expectation: You'll deliver epic presentations at work
Everyone will applaud. You'll probably get a promotion on the spot. You're passionate about what you do, and it's going to show.
Reality: You'll run errands at work
"Entry level" is code for "get everyone Starbucks."
Expectation: You'll be fashionable and fabulous
Before you realize how you don't really have money, you'll go shopping and buy an impractical but gorgeous new wardrobe.
Reality: Business casual, here you come
No, it's not cute or stylish, but when you're sleeping in until 8:30 and have given up on showering more than twice a week, you won't care. You'll wear sweatpants if your office allows it.
Expectation: Health Insurance! Benefits!
Getting sick won't be a problem with your Big Girl insurance protecting you.
Reality: Thank you, Obama/I just want my mommy.
Remember how you don't have much money left in that paycheck? You'll be milking the Obamacare provision that allows you to stay on your parents' insurance until you're 26. It's cheaper and their insurance is almost definitely better than yours.
Expectation: Helpful, excited coworkers who want you around
Reality: Everyone is too busy for you, newbie
So good luck figuring that out.