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If you’re anything like me, graduating college and starting your first “big kid” job can create a combination of emotions. First, there’s excitement. You have a real life, PAID, salary job. Yes, I said paid. So that means I can afford that new purse and pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing, right? Wrong, unless they fit in your budget, which we’ll touch on later. The second emotion you feel is fear. What if I’m not qualified? What if I screw up? What if I wear the wrong thing and get sent home on my first day? Third, there’s a suffocating feeling of being overwhelmed by the change that comes with leaving college, being on your own, and trying to learn everything you possibly can about your new position. Luckily, you’re not alone. Let me say it again, you’re not alone. And, I have a few best practices that will make your transition a little bit less unnerving.
- Breathe- This may sound like common sense but sometimes stopping and taking in a slow, deep breath might be just what you need to cool your jets and keep moving.
- Plan- If I could plan every second of everyday of my life, I probably would. But when starting a new job and being on your own, there are a few important things to plan for. In most cases, you’re going to be dealing with a lot more money than you ever have before (compared to that babysitting money you made every Saturday night). When you find out your salary, sit down and budget. This way you’ll know where your money is going each month and what you can spend without going into debt. One of my favorite easy budgeting tools is from Dave Ramsey. Another thing to plan for is what your new schedule is going to be like. Working an eight- or nine-hour day is a big adjustment, so think ahead for when you can exercise, if you need to meal-plan early in the week, what professional organizations you have time for, and don’t forget about time to relax and unwind.
- Prepare- While your four years of college were spent preparing you for your first job, there is still preparation that needs to be done in the days leading up to your first day on the job. Take time to pick out what you will wear for your first day. While this may seem silly, you should be dressing for the job you want, not the job you have, and first impressions say a lot. Also, spend time researching your new company. Learn something about your new co-workers so you can relate to them right off the bat.
You can do it. Good luck!