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Welcome to the Real World: Starting Your First Job

January 5th, 2016

After four short years of tailgating and football games, late nights cramming in the library, and time spent cultivating lifelong friendships, college truly does not prepare you for the day you start your first-ever job after graduation. Even after all the pomp and circumstance, it still felt as though I would be heading back to Ann Arbor in the fall for another year of undergrad. However, reality hit me as I was driving to my new job in rush-hour traffic, and the feeling was absolutely surreal. It was time to grow up. What was I getting myself into?

Walking into the office as a new employee made me feel like a freshman arriving to campus for the first time. How was I going to navigate this new environment? Was everything I learned before this enough? And, most importantly, where was the bathroom? Countless emotions pulsed through me – excitement, nervousness, anxiety, accomplishment, and many more. Thankfully, these slightly more negative feelings were soon put to rest, as each and every employee made me feel comfortable and at ease, offering to help me in any way possible.

The first day on the job, a myriad of information was thrown at me. I frantically took notes and listened intently, as not to miss anything. In some ways, I expected to jump right into the action and start working on major projects right away. But, in reality, I spent a lot of time getting acquainted with the company and its policies. This may seem like mundane work, but training truly is important to understanding a business and succeeding in it. I was even pushed out of my comfort zone on the first day, as I was asked to make phone calls to people asking them for specific paperwork that I wasn’t entirely familiar with. How would I respond if someone asked me a question that I didn’t know the answer to? However, after a few days, I became a pro at putting people on hold and finding answers to their questions.

Being challenged and given responsibility within the first week of a new job was somewhat intimidating, but it also made me realize the huge potential I have to grow and develop both personally and professionally. And, a company that challenges me and pushes me out of my comfort zone is definitely one that I want to work for. The office environment has remained friendly and fun, and I’ve learned something new every day since day one. So far, my experience with my first job has been a positive one and I’d have to say that the “real world” has been treating me pretty well.

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