Starting a New Job: Expectations Vs. Reality
Remember your first day in a new school? Your brain was pumping with scenarios from making new friends to school lunch food. Starting a job evokes the same feelings of uneasiness. You don’t know how people will take to you. You don’t know exactly what your boss will expect of you. You probably don’t even know where the bathroom is yet. This conglomeration of worries can play on your nerves like the high-pitched squeaking of a rusty bicycle.
Yeah, you don’t know where things will take you, but that’s a part of the wonder of it. Maybe it will be the worst experience ever and you want out immediately. BUT there’s a possibility that it might become another lovely addition to your life. You can’t know until you jump into it.
Benjamin Disraeli once said, “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.”
Go into this opportunity hopeful, but with realistic attitudes.
*For simplicity’s sake, I use the word “office”. This symbolizes the people in the business, not necessarily a brick and mortar building.
You walk in with the hopes of a new first grader. Excited. Ready-to-learn. Most of all, unknowing. But hey, the learning curve can’t be too hard. You can draw on your previous experiences to conquer all obstacles! You got this in the bag… or at least you think you do.
“Wow, did I really spend 7 hours trying to learn this and still get it wrong?”
Sometimes what you end up doing and the job description don’t exactly line up. Office Manager may include more coffee trips than you thought. Who knew this new marketing position would require this much writing? The band aid gets ripped off eventually. Nothing ever matches our expectations verbatim, that’s why you have to manage yourself.
How to Cope:
- Remind yourself that starting is often the toughest part of a job. Give yourself patience to adjust.
- Ask for help when you need it! You can gain valuable connections this way. Harvard Business Review published a terrific article with interesting statistics on this topic.
- Try different tasks at different times if you can. Sometimes rearranging your day can make it more enjoyable.
The Social Sphere
We all have this inner fantasy that we will genuinely enjoy every person in the office. You imagine yourself as the life of the party at the office party. Everyone gets a kick out of your irreplaceable humor and looks up to your unparalleled style.
The top one seems a little far-fetched because, if you remember, there was always one person on the playground you didn’t vibe with in school. You might even realize that there might be established office friend circles. Circles that spew out inside jokes, creating the barrier between you and them.
How to Cope:
- Create your own memories. As you spend more time with these people, you will develop your own jokes and fun references. Give it time.
- Don’t allow an imposed social hierarchy to poison your vision of people. Get to know your office workers on your own time. Establish your own opinions.
- Be you and you alone. We’ve all seen how well covering up who you are works in every brat pack 80’s movie. You were hired on talent and personality, my friend.
You finally have a job. You’ll be makin’ it rain with all the dough you’ll be hauling in. Get ready for fast cars and lobster every night!
While it is wonderful to have an income, it might not be as much as you were expecting. Once the rent, electric, water, gas, phone, insurance, car, Netflix, and loan payments are all paid, your checking account looks as sad as a sea toad.
How to Cope:
- Spend wisely.
- Naked Apartments offers a solid explanation of rent to income ratio.
- Figure out what entertainment expenses truly, as Marie Kondo says, “spark joy”.
- Save where you can. There are so many books and guides on this topic. Find one you like and stick to it!
- Work hard. Prove your worth as an employee. That way, the higher ups think of you during raises and promotions.
Every person must take a leap of opportunity at some point or another. The jump can be exhilarating and nerve racking at the same time. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities that you will make it work. Just remember to keep your expectations in check.