Working Girl: 5 Things I Learned From My 1st Jobs

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This past Saturday marked my final day of employment for the summer. After over six weeks, it’s hard to believe that I’m heading to tennis practice this morning as opposed to work. I really lucked out this summer: It was my first time working, and at both of my jobs I was blessed with a great boss and amazing co-workers. I can’t say every day was perfect, but looking back I realize how much fun I really had. To honor that experience, I thought my first non-working Monday was the perfect time to share some of what I learned during my first few months as a W4-signing working gal. There are so many things I could have written here, but for brevity’s sake I narrowed it down to the five takeaways that still stand out in my mind each and every day. To compare notes or scrape off some of this wisdom for yourself, be sure to keep scrolling.


1 // Honesty is the best policy

I got some practice at the honest game within the first week of my employment. To make a long story short, there was a mix-up regarding my schedule that ended with me having to rescind a commitment to one of my bosses. I was really embarrassed by the whole thing, and couldn’t image how my boss would react. I put my nerves aside, however, and did my best to explain (not to mention apologize) the situation in an up front manner. My boss was really understanding, and I definitely felt better to have everything out in the open.

A similar thing happened just a few weeks later. This time, one of my employers overpaid me…by a lot. Although I felt a little awkward pointing out the error, my boss ultimately appreciated my coming forward. Looking back, I think both of these situations helped me early on to prove my maturity and initiative to my bosses.


2 // Be helpful- it comes back around

One of my jobs was in a setting where it was pretty easy to create tasks for myself. Every time there was a lull in my own duties, I got busy with other chores that might not have been taken care of otherwise. I made sure everything was organized before clocking out for the day, and routinely offered to assist my superiors with any excess work. I enjoyed staying on top of things and, over time, being eager to work helped me build a rapport with my adult co-workers. These connections made a job I already liked that much more enjoyable, and I loved knowing I had a handful of friendly faces waiting for me at the start of each shift.


3 // Part of being a good employee means taking care of yourself

I mentioned on here a few times that my work schedule was kind of intense. For starters, let me give you a better idea: From late June through July, I work 4 to 7 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever I started resenting the situation (which, admittedly, was more often than I would have liked), I tried reminding myself how “responsible” I was being and how much everything would payoff in the end. But, the things is, in order to be a good employee, you have to be the best version of yourself. In all honesty, there were days when I was so rundown that my attitude probably impeded my work ethic. From now on, I know that one off a week- at least- is the way to go.

fcc2adc011f44b270dfd51b622d82f07.jpg 4 // Stay cool

It goes without saying that every job comes with stressful situations. From cashier rushes to book shelf collapses, I got schooled in staying calm in the face of craziness. I normally a wear-their-heart-on-their-sleeve type, so this was definitely a more difficult learning curve. When it comes down to it, thought, I always felt better when I rolled my shoulders back and smiled as opposed to succumbing to the craze. Besides making both myself and those around feel calmer, putting excess tension aside for a moment (What? I never said I didn’t scream in a pillow about it later 😉 ) made navigating even the toughest glitches that much easier.


5 // Making money is easy, spending is hard

You’ve probably this phrase before and, yes, I did in fact mean to write in the reverse. Before I started working, I probably would have agreed with the “correct” assumption that it’s 10x easier to blow your earnings than it is to, well, earn them. Once I actually started making my own money, however, I started to believe the opposite was true. The sensation was so intense that I was tempted to avoid making plans with friends, and the idea of visiting a bookstore- my biggest weakness- left me feeling panicked. In the end, though, it felt good to use some of my earnings to treat myself to sushi and ice cream with a pal and, yes, to purchase new (albeit paperback) books. I don’t plan on going crazy (that’s what Amazon gift cards are for), but I won’t shy away from indulging every once and a while. 🙂

All in all, this was a pretty interesting summer. At various moments, my life felt crazy, but monotonous, fun, but stressful, relaxing but also…not. I guess that just goes to show that life is more like an everything sundae than a vanilla wafer cone. And I can’t complain, really, because hey, I’ll take rainbow sprinkles any day.


image credits, top to bottom

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

3 thoughts on “Working Girl: 5 Things I Learned From My 1st Jobs

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