Author: Kaili T.
While visiting a few of my close friends in Boston this past weekend, a friend and I got onto the topic of tough first jobs. I am very familiar with the “tough first job” because I landed a job right out of college with a fun level that is comparable to a bitch slap. My friend and I both agreed that it’s probably helpful to have a rough job right out of college because then you’ll (hopefully) have superb coping skills if another bitch slapper of a job should rear its ugly head.
I have accepted that it would probably be unwise to leave my current position in an unstable economy, so I find that one of the biggest challenges that comes with having a job that you greatly dislike (I work for attorneys-my story is another post all on it’s own) is finding enough joy in my out-of-work activities to offset the unpleasant hours I spend at the office. Do you too spend Mon-Fri, 9-5 hunched over your keyboard counting down the hours and avoiding eye contact with a boss? You too shall survive! Focus on:
1. Food. I eat both breakfast and lunch at work. This means that I am only able to have one meal at home on a normal day. This takes away the comforts of having a meal in my own home so I make sure to take the time to prep a delicious dinner when I get home from work because those leftovers will make a tasty lunch! In turn, it will be one less meal that you might otherwise have to prep in the morning (more sleep!). Another idea is having breakfast at work. I have read that having a meal at your desk is a no-no, but for me, having a hot cup of mocha and toast in the morning gives me a chance to begin my paper-shuffling while enjoying one of my favorite simple pleasures. PS.-Eating well helps too! You are much more likely to enjoy your day if your body isn’t running on fast-food and soda.
2. Avoiding Drama. If you don’t care for your job (or even if you do!), the LAST thing you want to do is involve yourself in tiring drama or go home to a dramatic living situation. If you are anything like me, you might have loved drama in 8th and 9th grade, but now it makes you extremely tired and worn out. Life will be so much more manageable if you have a comfortable and drama-free environment to spend non-work hours at. Give yourself a chance to re-charge!
3. Physical Activity. For me this is a must. Not only does working out keep you toned and feeling healthy, but it also helps to keep stress levels down by providing a great outlet to take out aggression. I have had countless days that began with stress that ended calm and collected thanks to 5ks, pull-ups, and squats. Plus, working out is good for you in general – so it is only a bonus that you can utilize it for multiple purposes.
4. Personal Enrichment. Sounds mad boring eh? Not if your version of personal enrichment means an afternoon at a swank coffee shop (so you’ll feel like a yuppie) reading a fresh Cosmo mag (so you’ll feel like a babe)! Making sure that you find the time to indulge in activities that expand your mind is never a waste. I personally enjoy reading Lonely Planet’s photographic travel guides. I find that reading about 4 or five cities that I have never even heard of is like a mini-vacation. More than anything, it gives me the motivation to stick out my job and save my pennies so I can afford to visit the exotic locales that I read about!
5. Helping Others. Just the other day, one of my favorite co-workers from the 3rd floor (who is truly one of the sweetest people I have ever met) was visibly upset about something unfair that had happened to her at work. I could not only relate, but wanted to let her know that I was there to lend an ear or hand if she needs. Try to focus on the positive relationships you have with other workers as a way to make work more bearable. When I go home at night it is much more beneficial to remember the positive interactions within the office that I have than the negative ones.
6. Doing YOU. I cannot stress this enough. Spend time with friends, canoodle with your man, but make sure that you are ultimately spending time making life enjoyable for yourself FIRST. It is very easy (especially in the whirlwind 20’s) to be glued to one person or only a few persons and no one else. This might feel fabulous at the time, but what happens if your relationship ends? Then you will still have to go back to your stressful job. If you put all of your free time into those few relationships (or just one), then it will be much more difficult to navigate those nasty post-split weeks without a solid idea of how to cope with work stressors sans relationship(s).
These can be our heydays! Make as much time as possible to do all of the things you want to do while you are young! Work is work, but try not to let it become your life. These are the pre-kid, pre-marriage, and pre-mortgage days! Have a glass of red and celebrate the end of your day.