“Wow. You’re out of university, and into the real world!” said [literally] every single one of my friends’ parents at the end of last year. “How do you feel?”
Honestly? Working full-time is not exactly new to me. I worked full-time during my third year of university [my degree required students to work in the business and marketing industry for a full year], but if I’m being TOTALLY honest [which I am, because I’m not going to lie to you guys], it was a truly terrible year.
Why was it so terrible? I’d say it had lots to do with bullying, misogyny and barely seeing any daylight for 40 hours every week. So I’d cry a couple of times a week and just put up with the fact that this was my life now, and this is, quite simply, what full-time work is – perpetual unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
Sounds sad, I know. It kinda was. But whatever, I was a student who was taking anything she could get [see my earlier blog post for more info on this]. You gotta do what you gotta do.
So in December of 2019, upon my graduation, I was asked by my uni friends, school friends, friends not from uni OR school and all the adults in my life, “What are your plans now?”.
My plan was to work full-time at TDP, the place I’d commenced interning at in January of the same year, then progressed to working part-time at during May.
For the first time ever, I could say I was excited to start my new full-time job – something I genuinely thought I may never be able to say again. I thought I was scarred from the last time I dabbled in full-time work. Turns out, I wasn’t. I just needed to find the right place.
And thank goodness I did.
Starting full-time work after studying and working part-time [and having plenty of time to socialise, volunteer, binge-watch Netflix and attend exercise classes], is pretty challenging.
Your life, as you know it, is kinda turned on its head. Things change. Lots of things. And you suddenly realise you may need to re-evaluate your priorities.
The non-negotiables for me? Well, here they are:
1. Exercising [almost] every day of the week. Attending my yoga and pilates classes are a MUST if I want to remain happy, if I want my brain to be at its optimum, and if I want a good night of sleep. This is something I’ve DEFINITELY learnt over time. So, exercise? A huge priority. I don’t know how I’d cope without it.
2. Making my lunch the easiest and most convenient thing to organise.
Fun fact: Preparing my lunch is, truthfully, one of my worst things to do. It’s one of those things that gives you the ‘ick’ feeling – you know you have to get it done, but you rarely feel like putting in much effort, so it’s that task that sits in the back of your head and you pretend, for as long as possible, that it’s not something you need to address. Reality check: You need to address this issue, or you will be HUNGRY.
So what do I do to make this process as easy and enjoyable as possible? I take myself to Coles on a Sunday evening [when I’m usually not doing much else], and buy myself a big loaf of seeded Helga’s bread, a can of beetroot, a tub of Coon cheese, a small bag of mixed lettuce, a couple of avocados [one slightly more ripe than the other] and a few big tomatoes. Then, I head into the snack aisle and stock up on some muesli bars, protein bars and bliss balls for the week ahead.
Every day at work? I make myself a huuuge sandwich. It’s filling. It’s delicious. I look forward to it every day [because I love anything that involves bread], and the very best thing about it? I don’t have to think about preparing my lunch for THE REST OF THE WEEK. It’s all organised on a Sunday night. Genius, I know.
3. I’m finding that my socialising during the week has changed, dramatically – instead of going out for long meals to cool restaurants on a Tuesday night, I’m starting to opt for having friends over for tea or going for a quick ice cream or frozen yoghurt after dinner. That way, I still have time to chill and read and watch Married At First Sight, because #priorities.
But, of course, I have learnt so much more from commencing full-time work than just how to prep my lunch and see my friends. I have learnt that:
- Your role becomes a little more important when you’re at work every day. Every single task on my Asana board, every week, needs to be completed [as long as it’s realistic to finish it within the week], because there’s nobody there to finish it if I can’t manage to.
- The way you communicate with the people around you every day, is really important. It is essential to be kind, considerate and aware of what your colleagues need – sometimes they need space and silence because they’re having a hard day, sometimes they need silence simply because they’re focusing on a big project for a client, and sometimes you just need to be that person who’s there with open ears and an open heart, allowing others to vent, knowing their words are safe with you. That kinda stuff is really important, too.
- Always be willing to learn. I’m only 22, so, realistically? Most of the time, I don’t actually know what I’m doing. But I’m here, ready to ask millions of questions [even though I often ask the same questions multiple times – shoutout to Lizey for never getting frustrated with me!], and ready to learn from the people around me who are incredibly experienced in the industry and the work they do each and every day.
- Your role has the potential to be anything you want it to be. You can make everything fun, you can learn something from every task you undertake [even if it seems mundane or repetitive]. There is [mostly] always a way to enjoy everything, as long as you have the right mindset.
My experience working full-time at TDP, so far, has been a pretty great one. But I can’t say that’s only because of my little hacks – it’s mostly because of the team I’m working alongside.
I am LOVING the work I’m doing. I’m loving learning new things every single day. I’m loving that I have the ability to ask for more work or ask to do work in different areas. It’s allowing me to continually challenge myself, and I’m slowly learning that I’m good [and not so good] in certain areas I’d never worked in before.
It’s funny how you can be so sure that something isn’t for you – whether that’s the industry you’re working in, or something as simple as full-time work hours – but I’ll tell you the biggest thing I’ve learnt from starting full-time at TDP? I’ve learnt that sometimes, the most important thing to experience at work is a supportive, kind and compassionate team.
Oh, and some natural light.