Journey to Adulthood: Adjusting to the 9 to 5
Alright, it’s honesty hour:
Working full-time sucks.
Yes, I have a great job. Yes, I live in a fun and exciting city with lots to do. Yes, I no longer have to deal with tests, papers, or group projects.
No, I can’t stay home if I don’t feel like going. No, I have to always be ‘on’ and ready to go, I can’t fade into the background. No, I have to pack my own lunches, clean an apartment, and pay for everything.
There’s a laundry list of trade offs that come with graduating from college and moving on to the 9 to 5. For example, I don’t get homework but I do have days where I’m working late, only to show up to the office early again the next day.
I was thinking about why I feel this way about working full-time. Is it because of my job? Probably not. My company treats its employees well and when compared to my friend’s employers, has a lot of other perks & clout with its name. Is it because of living in a new city + having a lot more responsibility? Also a no - I have never shied away from responsibility, adventure, or a challenge.
So as I kept thinking, I realized a few things:
- Working hours are about 3x the amount of college class hours. I took 12-15 hours and work 40-45 hours, meaning that it’s a steep curve that I just jumped on. I know this doesn’t take into account studying, so with that I’d estimate it as 1.25x the amount of college work (I totally guessed that guess). Either way, working is more than the total hours put into college work. You also have to take into consideration the amount of time you spend getting ready for work, commuting, thinking about work, etc.
- This is the biggest life change I’ve had in almost 20 years. The last time I had a huge change of this nature was when I went to kindergarten. I’ve been in school since then, so I have to be gentle on myself for taking the time to adjust to my new norm. On my first day of kindergarten, I wouldn’t get on the bus and my mom had to drive me in, with me latched onto her leg to avoid having to go to the classroom. Fast forward, and I ended up loving school. Right now, I like to think I’m on the leg-latching stage.
- As a 22 year old, I don’t have all the answers. I’m still in the exploring phase, figuring out my passions, values, and interests. It’s absurd of me to expect myself to know exactly what I want now or to even attempt to map out my life plan. Neither of those are realistic, so I need to focus on the here and now: the next few days, weeks, months. I love planning + life mapping, but this is the part where I tell myself to RELAX. I’ve made it this far in life just fine, I can figure life out as it unfolds.
As you can clearly tell, here’s the thing: I’m still figuring it all out. So while it sucks right now, I’m hoping if you ask me again in 6 months it won’t. I’m hoping that I’ll say “Hey, it’s good. I’m adjusting. I like XYZ about my job, and don’t love ABC. I have a better idea of my next step, and that’s cool.”
I’m slowly getting busier with work and more in the trenches, so hopefully the next time we chat I’ll be less angsty and more grounded.