5 Things I Learned During My First Year of Working

One year ago today, I stepped into my agency as an employee for the first time. June 20, 2016 was my first day of work in the “real world”, and honestly it feels like an eternity ago now. 365 days later, I’ve learned a lot, and my life has changed drastically both inside the office and out.

My job brought me to New Jersey. I lived in Pennsylvania my entire my life, but on a sunny Saturday last June, I packed up everything I owned and moved a state over to start my new life. It boggles my mind to think of how different things would be if I never made that leap and accepted my first job offer.

During my first year of working, I learned a lot about the inner workings of my agency, our clients, and more importantly, myself. I feel as if in the past 365 days I’ve grown a lot both personally and professionally, and I have my job to thank for that.

Transitioning from college to the real world certainly wasn’t easy. Even though I felt prepared, I realized very quickly that I wasn’t. While my learnings may not seem monumental, they are to me on a much deeper level. I have come a long way in a short amount of time, and I’m proud of my journey.

Being alone doesn’t have to be scary. After my move, I was alone in all senses of the word. Physically, I lived alone, and mentally, I felt very alone because I didn’t know anyone in the area, so my interactions with people outside of the office were limited. In the beginning, I hated living alone. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was so terrified. But as time went on, coming home to an empty apartment became relaxing. It was nice to have my own space that was entirely mine. Friends came along slowly but surely, and in time I became more comfortable with my decision to move.

Challenging yourself is vital for growth. Halfway through my first year at work, I was switched to a different team. My daily routine completely changed, along with my workload, relationships with my coworkers and clients, etc. This transition was extremely exciting, but also very challenging. I knew stepping up to the plate on a different team wouldn’t be easy, but I was ready to take on the challenge. Today, I’m extremely grateful to have been presented with the opportunity to work on such a large brand with such a dedicated team. I’ve grown so much in such a short amount of time, and I owe it to my teammates for pushing me to do the best I can every single day.

Making a life for yourself should be a priority. During the first few months I lived in New Jersey, I drove home almost every single weekend to avoid being by myself and having nothing to do. Looking back, this was the worst possible thing I could have done for myself. I didn’t prioritize building a life for myself in New Jersey; instead, I tried to run from it. I attempted to hold on to my life in Pennsylvania, even though I didn’t live there anymore. By forcing myself to step outside of my comfort zone and meet new people in the area, I made a few close friends. While my friend group is still small, it’s a solid start. Now, I rarely go back to Pennsylvania and try to spend as much time as possible creating a new life here. After all, New Jersey is now my home.

Asking questions doesn’t make you stupid. This applies to both work and your personal life. Asking questions at work was intimidating for me in the beginning. I was very clearly “the new girl” but I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing. Eventually, I realized asking questions actually made me more productive, because I wasn’t wasting time guessing; I knew exactly what I had to do and how to do it. As for my personal life, living alone for the first time comes with its own separate challenges… I’d be lying if I said I didn’t call my mom frequently and bombard her with questions.

Maintaining relationships is a choice, not a requirement. Moving to a new state completely changed the relationships I had with a lot of people. Friends and family who I saw and talked to every day were suddenly miles away. Being far away from your loved ones undoubtedly puts a strain on those relationships, but I quickly learned that it was my choice to maintain them, not a requirement. Relationships are two sided, and without both parties putting in the effort, they don’t work. The reality of it is not all relationships will last. While it can be disappointing, it comes with the territory, and is part of growing up. When you choose to maintain meaningful relationships rather than all relationships, you’re bettering yourself and your future.

One year down… a lot to go. The good news? If this year is any indication of what is to come, I have no doubt that great things are in my future 🙂

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