6 Lessons I’ve Learned From My First Office Job

6 Lessons I’ve Learned From My First Office Job

Hello New Graduates

Welcome to the Real World of taxes, graduate programmes, conferences, long client phone calls, and insurance. It’s not a pretty one. In fact, it often gets really, really ugly. Gone are the days where having four classes in a day was a justifiable complaint, when you could skip a lecture every now and then, where you spent all day and all night labouring over an essay like you were giving birth. Now you’re into what they have been complaining about for decades – the dreaded 9-5.

There are many things you won’t miss. The exams, the study, the essays, the meetings with lecturers or speaking out at seminars but the stress and emotions associated with them, they now come in different forms. You will still stress about writing papers, submitting reviews, passing interview questions or questions from your superiors. Deadlines still exist, as do hangovers, correct email etiquette matters now more than ever but it’s not all bad – in fact, you begin to relish evenings, weekends and bank holidays where you don’t have to come home to more work.

Sure, work life can be stressful but at least you’re spared of the constant fear of how your performance will impact your grade nine months down the road.

I’m out of college 18 months now and I’m in my first office job just over four months – I’ve had stints in shops and internships in the meantime – and I think I’ve learned more from being a so-called “professional” than a student. It’s as if college life prepared you for the basics but nothing can prepare you for everything that it contains.

I’ve prepared six lessons I’ve learned from the last few months of full time office work – including my internship – that I would have loved to have known when I graduated. Remember that starting a full time job is the first step on a very long ladder. You can’t see where it ends but you know that taking that step will bring you closer to whatever it is.

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Who We Are

Who We Are

I base a lot of my self worth on the opinions of others. And then some.

I base a lot of my self worth on the opinions of others and in long drawn-out comparisons that leave me feeling stale. And every time, it ends with “why not me”.

It’s something that’s been there for a lot of my life. My school was competitive, elitist – and whilst it taught me some incredibly important moral values, it didn’t see us all as equal. Some were just more equal than others. Ten year old me wanted to be good at sports but I couldn’t because I didn’t take extra classes outside of school, I wanted to wear the bulky Tiffany necklaces and own a Mini Cooper, things that divided the social standing, gave you a sense of “identity”, and initiated you in the unspoken secret society of kids who I believed to be undeniably happy, the only problems in their lives being whether or not they wanted to curl their hair in the morning.

It wasn’t jealousy so much as it was thinking, I wasn’t good enough or happy until I had these things.

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September

September

September has been a busy one. It was the first full month at my new job which comes with its own challenges itself but also the first full month of me actively trying to find balance in my life. There were some ups and some downs (literally… I fell down the stairs) but I feel much better about things than I did one month ago.

Here are the four things this month that kept me busy:

Gilmore Girls

Dear Amy Sherman-Palladino,

I am so sorry I ever called this show boring.

I managed to binge watch the entire first season of Gilmore Girls in a week, which is impressive for me given that I was never one for Netflix binge watching and that the episodes are approx 40mins long.

But God, I am so sorry for ever calling this TV show boring.

I was only eleven when I first saw it and I guess I just didn’t get it. Why was there such a big deal over Lorelai being so young? Why on earth would you call your daughter Rory? I had pretty much judged it before I could actually mature and appreciate it.

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#Snakes

We were scouting out old photos in the attic last week and found these polaroids gems from 1997/1998 when I ran away with the circus and became a snake handler. My dreams were crushed when my mother found me proudly wearing a Boa Constrictor at age 3.

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Check out those curls though!

Bonus picture:

“It’s called fashion, sweaty, look it up”

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I think baby photos are the best when you’re at your most hilarious.

The Best of Kate Spade

The Best of Kate Spade

I’m a self professed Kate Spade lover. She could release a handbag made from a bin liner, make it fashionable, and I would consider buying it. That’s the wonderful talent the brand has.

What’s even more wonderful is that their products never go out of fashion. Classic leather looks in muted colours to loud ones to quirky bags with a sense of humour, nothing is ever past its sell by date. It’s a brand that will probably still be a major player in the bag industry in decades to come.

But I’m not ignoring that Kate Spade is pretty pricey in Ireland.

The KS outlet store in Kildare Village though is incredible – plenty of in season delights at a much, much lower price. And it’s not just the “rejects” or out of style designs. My current bag, just a standard black leather tote that fits all my stuff plus laptop (and is perfect all year round), originally retailed at €500 but I got it for €135. Don’t be put off by the prices in Brown Thomas, you can always get a bargain in Kildare.

Kate Spade is also fantastic for channelling their quirkier side in their designs and below are a few examples of some of the ones I found whilst searching for my next buy.

 

PS: KateSpade.co.uk doesn’t ship to Ireland so it’s going to be an AddressPal or ParcelMotel situation though after this incident, I think I’ll stick with AddressPal.

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Top Left: Ooh La La Dollface

Top Middle: Haute Stuff Takeout Bag (c wat dey did der)

Top Right: Scenic Route Cactus Bag

Mid Left: Scenic Route Cactus Sima

Mid Right: Ma Cherie Antoine Sima

Bottom Left: Baja Bound Porcupine Bag

Bottom Right:  Penny the Pinata  (my favourite!)

 

What should Kate do next?

The Humble Loafer

The Humble Loafer

Loafers are in. Well, they’ve never been not in but this season, they’re definitely in. And I’ve never owned a pair. I wore boat shoes in school, polished black to match the school’s requirements of black, flat shoes but they were flimsy and definitely not as high quality as the classic Dubarrys that everyone wore.

In Autumn, I am glued to boots. The minute it begins to feel cold, I have my boots on. Riding boots, ankle boots, Chelsea boots – I have them all, in a range of colours (black AND brown) and once on, they don’t come off until March. I could own seven pairs of Chelsea boots, every single one black, and not get tired. But this year, I found myself wanting something different.

Working in an office has given me a new eye, and appreciation, for the smart-casual work aesthetic. You know, what’s now Normcore after Normcore became a little less boring. I’ve begun to come around to the idea of a pair of smart shoes that I can wear to the office that aren’t heels, boots, or worse – heeled boots.

So I’ve been scouring online to see what’s out there and here’s what I’ve found. Now, I know Office dominate this list. Many places have got the classic loafer but I wanted colour and Office had them. Hail Office for they truly are the kings of colourful, practical shoes.

 

Ice Cream Party

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Year Update

Year Update

Note: this may be a tad bit boring but it keeps my goals for this site in check!

It’s been a full year since I started writing here and here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. I enjoy it more than I thought. Even just getting words out onto a page has done wonders for my thinking process and decision-making abilities.
  2. The response has been second to none. I’ve had many people come forward and thank me for something I wrote. Many others have stuck their head around the door to see if I was alright. It’s brought me closer to my friends and has opened up discussion on topics we are still too afraid to talk about, like feeling lost/lonely, financial problems, and extreme anxiety.
  3. I’ve met/spoken to some incredible people. I’ve had total strangers reach out to me who have since become friends. I’ve reached out to people whom I have looked up to for their writing for years. I’ve been inspired by the incredible and diverse community that’s out there and they have been there through the writers’ block, the frustration, and the tears.
  4. I want to keep doing this. I haven’t fallen out of love with it like I have with other blogs and I think that’s purely because I’m writing about what I know and what I feel. And I want to be more open about what I write about. After all, I am writing for myself, not for money, sponsorship, or affiliates.

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