A few things I've learned from working
So it's been almost year and a half since I started working. Graduating college, I thought there wasn't much to learn, only to realize how naive I was. When people say college kids, there's gotta be a reason why kids follow college right?
Personally, it seems like I've learned a lot more than what I have in college for everything non-academic. I'll try explain what I've learned so far.
1. your salary is not your paycheck.
When I learned that I'd be making $60k (about $4600 a month), I immediately started thinking about nice cars and studios. In my mind, I thought okay i'll pay $400 for my car, maybe I can do $1300 for a studio, and I'll still be left with $2700. Wow that's still a lot of money spend! NO. you get taxed twice (income and state), need to pay for social security, contribute to 401k, etc... I ended up getting 60% of that number, and am still living with my parents. The crazy rent prices in NOVA/DC area only adds insult to injury
2. You need to read between the lines
People at work aren't your friends, a.k.a, they aren't going to treat you like your friends do. This means that they'll always be nice to you, but they can think otherwise. Or tell you something, and act otherwise. It seems like people always have agenda when they approach me (the older they are the more they do). Also, internal and external messages from our management are carefully crafted so that they only highlight the strengths and hide the weaknesses. So I think it's important to understand what people are trying to say/do, and act accordingly. If you get fooled by them, you'll lose your place soon...
3. you need to manage your time
Back in college, I didn't have to plan carefully what I do with my time. I could take a quick nap, then hit the library, spend some time on Facebook, then start studying. Running behind the schedule? Fine, I'll stay one hour later, and do 10 more minutes of studying. This was only possible because I had the entire day to myself. At work, I'm only allocated 8 hours. I used to let web-surfing and IMing my friends take majority of my time, and noticed that my productivity plummeted. Only recently I realized the importance of managing my time in order to get things done quickly and efficiently.
4. Maybe.. you'll have to get another degree.
Although I'm still not 100% sure about this, I still think this is the case. Let's imagine I stay here forever. My pay will go up gradually, beating inflation slightly. Maybe I'll get promoted a few times, but it does seem like there's a glass ceiling for people who don't have advanced degrees, generally. Whereas, if you get an MBA degree from a top school, you'll start higher, and get much higher salary (I think around $120k+?) and it'll also open up many other possibilities. But, paying for student loan is another thing.
5. Commute sucks. like... it sucks a lot
This commute thing has been so very really intangible for me, because going to a class took me 10 minutes max by walking. Right now, I'd do everything in my power to make that happen with work. It can actually happen, as long as I pay near $2k as rent (lol..). Instead, I have to drive ~ 40 minutes one way assuming moderate traffic, and do it twice everyday. So you end up spending one hour on the road which is such a waste.
6. your day is really short
Once you are done at 6 (let's say you spend an hour everyday for lunch cause you need to), you spend another hour to get home through this crazy and stupid traffic. It's 7, you need to eat, you ate, now it's 7:40. So effectively, you are left with 4 hours. There's only so much energy left after a long day at work, so doing something meaningful like reading a book, studying or hitting the gym becomes a conscious choice/effort.
7. I miss sunlight and walking around the campus
Well, if you go to the office it's not like you get to walk around freely like you used to back in college. You either go to another meeting room, or you sit at your cubicle. Yeah this kinda sucks...
So far I feel like I've only painted a gloomy picture of my corporate life. The reality is, it may be, or it may not be. But hey, at least I'm not putting 100 hours a week, and I get to do some things after work. So I'm very appreciative (and will be even more when I get another job) of where I am!