Work Life

Things You Learn On Your First Job

It’s been exactly 80 days since I started my first job. It’s been going pretty well so far. What I’m loving about it is that there isn’t a day I don’t learn something new. Some things are good, others…not so much.

Things you learn on your first job:

  1. Coffee is like life support. Even bad coffee is good coffee.
  2. Taxes are the devil.
  3. The more you work, the more breaks you need. The more breaks you take, the less work you get done. It’s a vicious cycle.
  4. Going to work is just like being in high school. There’s a principal, hall monitors, and social cliques. If you don’t behave, you’ll be in for it in the next PTA meeting.
  5. There are times you go to the bathroom just for the heck of it.
  6. Time spent in the restroom/near the coffee machine/in the elevator is not unproductive. Catching up on office gossip IS work.
  7. Dating now consists of chatting up the cute mail room guy near the water cooler. (he’s not really cute, but you’ve convinced yourself that he is)
  8. Sometimes you’ll put your headphones on just so that your annoying coworker doesn’t start a long conversation about who stole her lunch again.
  9. It’s your first job, and the economy is in the crapper. That means you should thank your lucky starts for the peanuts they pay you. But when you look at the homeless guy around the corner, it occurs to you that he is actually better off than you are.
  10. You will meet a coworker that hates your guts for no reason. You’ll find that you LOVE provoking this person subtly but very effectively.
  11. People will write cheesy motivational quotes on their dry-erase boards. Every time you pass by their desk, you have to restrain yourself from correcting their spelling and grammar. And by ‘correcting’, I don’t mean correcting.
    Dry erase
  12. Working at such close proximity to each other, you start to understand your coworkers’ bathroom schedules. It’s both intimate and just plain weird.
  13. Bathrooms at work run on completely different rules. Sometimes it’s like a little meeting in there. Other times, it’s a fun inter-work hangout (aka a bathroom party). Most of the time though, you’re left very, very confused about what happened in there.
  14. Sometimes you’ll just stare at your screen to kill time. It’s ridiculous how long you can keep that up without getting bored.
  15. Taking a nap at work is a serious skill. It’s stealth-napping, and it’s not for amateurs.
  16. Calling in sick is the best lie ever invented. “Hey John, you weren’t in yesterday.” “Yeah, I called in sick.” *both nod in understanding*
  17. Sleep is a beautiful, wonderful thing. It’s like a lover you only get to see once in a while.
  18. Driving in rush hour brings out the worst in you. It will lead to murderous thoughts.
  19. You are worth a lot less than you think.
  20. You are worth a lot more than you think.

Your turn! What did you learn from your first job?

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88 thoughts on “Things You Learn On Your First Job

  1. Oh the wisdom you have already gained. No matter what the future holds, you will always remember your first introduction into the workforce you will soon refer to as hell. I must say I love your correction on the white board!

    • You are one of those few people that can say “My first job was like working in a prison” and actually mean it! That’s pretty cool

      I can imagine you saying that last sentence with scary dramatic music (dun dun dun…)

  2. I learned several things not necessarily negative more about myself and the type of worker that I am. I am not one to brown-nose, regardless of the circumstance. I come in to do my job to the best of my ability and let it speak for itself. While that it is a good thing all work no matter where is about playing the game, and lets face it the game is challenging.

  3. My first job out of school I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t let me go home at 3. I was bummed when I learned that I had to work until 5 every day. That was cutting into my social life.

  4. Really? Your first job ever? Well it’s definitely a learning experience. I have learned over the course of several jobs that once you do something you love it’s not really work at all. And when you have bills to pay flipping burgers is not beneath you.

  5. My first job ever made me have a different perspective on working after my education lol but all the same I learnt that people can be mean to you for no reason and I felt enslaved to duty.

  6. Amen to the bathroom. I’ve learned I can turn any piece of furniture into an ottoman. I’ve always impressed myself with my own flexibility in varieties of ways to sit in a standard office chair.

  7. The first time I called in sick was the hardest. It got much easier after that… ^.^

    Also – I still don’t like coffee…I’m still working on that one… (but it’s just as easy to get energy drinks at my job – so I guess energy drinks are my coffee!)

  8. My first ‘big girl job’ or my first ever job?
    1) First ever job – working for your parents is not the huzzah you thought it was & free food is great
    2) My first big girl job – SHIT, I can’t just quit this job if I don’t like it b/c it’s not like a $6/hr gig… and interviews suck.

    • So with you on the interviews suck part. Even if these companies don’t pay attention to employee retention tactics, they’ve still got us because interviews suck. :P
      Also, free food is the BEST.

  9. One of the things you could add to your list…..like high school: There is ALWAYS a teacher’s pet and life is better when it is you!! :-)
    My first job was at a McD’s and I was 16. Manager LOVED me and I got away with murder! I didn’t stay long because I was bored…LOL! Then I went to work at Wendy’s…it wasn’t a whole lot different except I actually “worked” that time!! ;-)

  10. 1. Interns are slaves.
    2. Internet is used by juniors for facebooking and by seniors to watch porn.
    3. If lunch is at 1.00 pm, it is at 12.55 pm.
    4. If lunch hour gets over at 2.00 pm, it gets over at 2.15 pm.
    5. You can have comfortable naps in the toilet. Just flush every now and then.

      • I’d forgotten that!. but i learnt to to that during my third job. It’s a process. You learn so many good things at jobs. I also flavor my beans so that the guy next to me gets the maximum pleasure of the surprises i give him.
        I think strawberry is his favorite.
        It hits his throat.
        And it’s fast. Very fast.

        • Strawberry flavored bean farts. Now that’s a person you don’t want to mess with. You think that’s why doesn’t talk to you a lot? He knows what he’s in for if you ever get angry.

    • Me too! Motivational posters are the worst. If anything, I feel even less motivated than I was before.
      …but then I realize that there’s some poor shmuck out there that has to write these things day in and day out. And then, I feel a little better about life.

  11. I love these, particularly #15! I’m glad it’s still going well for you! When it starts to turn “Office-Spacey” — as in the movie “Office Space” then it’s time to book! Ahahaha!

  12. My first job was being a salesman. Old school sales. The type of sales that’s borderline harassment. Never sell car products at gas stations. People go to gas stations for gas (pun) and snacks.

    I learned that people prefer laughter to nice happy-go-lucky salesmanship from a kind person. Sometimes I’d be a real douche/schlong but I would say something funny to counter it and I’d get more sales from that somehow.

    Gas station people are strange.

    • Yes, gas station people ARE strange. I think it’s the act of having to fill gas despite never actually wanting to fill gas.

      I can see how laughter would work. You make me laugh at the gas station of all places, and I buy what you’re selling. Easy.

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