I haven’t posted in a while.
I don’t know how I feel about this blog any more. I started it just after I started my first real job- I was so enthusiastic and I thought I would have this whole work/ life balance thing sorted out in no time.
But the thing is I was in that job for 12 months and every time I felt settled, well something would come along and shake it up.
I never did- and still haven’t- discovered any sort of work life balance.
It’s more of a work/life sword fight, each competing with each other trying to win your time. Both always demanding more, and me always feeling like a failure because I couldn’t meet all their needs.
So then I did something CRAZY! Absolutely absurd- I put my family first.
It was pretty organic, James left so I just couldn’t continue to work the amount of overtime I was doing.
I felt awful, and although I was told I was supported I really wasn’t feeling the support. Although they would say it was okay it work only 39 hours a week instead of 45 I could see it in their eyes that it wasn’t.
Only one and a half hours more than I was paid- I felt like I was letting them down.
Then I started to see cracks, I started to get really paranoid. I felt really belittled all the time and no matter how much work I did- I always felt like it wasn’t enough.
I thought it was just my anxiety playing up.
And then I got yelled at for doing my job in a public space- and I started to think that surely this was not how staff should be treated.
And even though I spoke to the head of HR I was still made to feel like I was paranoid and I was the crazy one.
So I just got on with it- but I did apply for two ‘dream jobs’ in Melbourne.
Then I got one.
And then it all came crashing down. I’m not going to go in detail but my paranoia was pretty accurate.
But it was really for the best, and to their defence I really felt like my concerns were heard during my exit interview.
I also made some great life long friends there- and walked away with great experience.
So here’s what I learnt from my first job:
Don’t be a yes man! If people ask you to do roles outside of your job description, you don’t have to say yes. Colleagues will respect you if you explain to them that you don’t have the time or the skills to complete a task they requested of you.
Don’t miss out on opportunities because you don’t have time. Whilst it’s okay to say no if you are too busy, if you are given the opportunity to develop your career or try something you are interested in- make time. One of these opportunities became my favourite part of the job, and I pretty much got my new job off the experience I gained from it.
Don’t get involved in the bitching! Especially whilst in the office. If someone is constantly bitching about others, they’re probably going to bitch about you. It’s also incredibly toxic. If you need to vent about work or colleagues, do it with people outside of your organisation.
Stay focused on your goals. Sure your goals can change, and that’s only natural- but don’t chase the pay cheque. $100k might get you out of bed for the first couple of years, but a job you are passionate about will keep you engaged for much longer and probably earn you more money in the long run. If a promotion is offered outside of your area of expertise or interest ask them to tailor it to suit you. If they really want you they’ll find a compromise.
Know when it’s time to move on. Your first job is a lot like your first boyfriend. You adore it, and you think you’ll be there forever but upon reflection it was kind of an arsehole. Chances are, you’re not going to be there forever. As soon as you start to feel undervalued, start looking elsewhere. You don’t need to feel guilty about moving on, you don’t owe them anything.
The most important thing I learnt from my first job was to be yourself! Work your hardest, and don’t lose your integrity. Even if you’re under valued, you can walk out of the office on your last day with your head held high knowing that you did your absolute best.
What did you learn from your first job?