Top 5 things you worry about at your first real job

BOO!

Just kidding.

Just like last year, I decided to write another Top 5 post for Halloween. I know Halloween is technically over, but you can still get in the spirit, right? Either way, this post is going to be a bit scarier than usual. Forget about ghosts and ghouls. Instead, I’ll be discussing some deeper issues that my fellow peers are battling right now and how to overcome these issues.

*Note: For those who have already been in the business a while, this is a great read for you, as well. Use this information to reach the Millennial employees at your office. Understanding what our fears are may help you determine better ways to collaborate and make us feel more welcome in the workplace.

5.) Being overwhelmed

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Young woman working in office. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
Woe, is me.

Getting your first real job means more work. And more work means more responsibility. And more responsibility means more accountability. And the cycle goes on. What I’m saying is: life gets harder. And I think a lot of us feel intimated by the work. It’s not to say that we can’t do the work; it’s just when you get used to making As on assignments that you barely had to study for, and that routine becomes so easy to you, it’s hard for you to picture yourself actually working like a normal person. Anything more than what you’re used to might make you think, “I’m not ready.”

But think about what you are ready for. More money, more opportunities, more chances for promotion, more times to meet new people…more, more, more. If you continue to grow in the right direction and sharpen your skills, the only way for you to go is up.

4.) Being the youngest/least experienced
I can totally relate to this one. What if you’re not good enough to hang with the “big dogs”? What if no one listens to you because you’re the youngest? What if you get completely lost at your department meetings, and you have no idea what your superiors are talking about? I’ve gone through it all.

There’s two ways you can handle this, depending on your situation. First, there’s a good chance that all of the doubts you’re having are not actually happening. Take a step back and get out of your head for a second. Is anyone actually telling you that you don’t know anything because you’re young? Is anyone actually telling you to “stay in your lane” because you just got here? If not, then stop worrying about it so much. You were hired for that job because someone thought you belonged there. Someone thought you were intelligent enough to handle your position and everything that comes with it. So start acting like it. Just chill out and be the best employee you can be.

Secondly, if you end up in a situation where others in the office make you feel inferior or not worthy, then this is when you decide how much this job really means to you. If you’re willing to fight for your position, then the best way to handle this situation is to talk to these people directly. Time to put your big-girl/big-boy pants on. Let your colleagues know how their comments make you feel. Usually, that’s all it takes to make your situation better. But if not, then take your concerns to your manager. If he doesn’t do anything about it, then take it to his boss. And if nothing changes, keep moving up the ladder or let the Human Resources department know. Eventually, someone along the totem pole is going to put an end to it.

3.) Getting “stuck”
I think one of the biggest fears a lot of my friends have is the fear of getting locked into their entry-level jobs. Like, they’re going to get too comfortable too soon or feel like they can never leave. I have two words for you guys: NOT TRUE.

Don’t ever feel like you have to “show your loyalty” by staying at your job for years and years. If you feel like you have piqued, and you’ve learned all you can learn at your current job, then that means it may be time to go. You shouldn’t feel guilty, and no one should make you feel upset about your choice. This is YOUR career, which means you have to make your own decisions that are best for YOU. And nobody else. This is life, and no one said it would be fair. There’s a reason why I have this quote on my blog page:

“Your career is your business, so manage it like a CEO.” – Dorit Cher

Because it’s true! You can still show your gratitude to those who have helped you along the way, but you don’t owe anyone your life. Your life is YOUR life. So keep it moving.

2.) Getting fired
Well, duh. The thought of getting fired at your first real job out of college (or high school) is very discouraging. You’ve put in all this work just to get fired over something stupid or something that could have been avoided: like turning in your assignments late.

Picture of "you're fired"

The best advice I can give you on this is to do the best you can, every time you can. No one is perfect, and you’re going to make mistakes. But do your best to rectify those mistakes and to keep the company moving. Try not to worry about your job being on the line every time you go into work. That type of thinking is not productive. It’ll only stress you out more and eventually, it’s going to show in your work. Don’t worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet. Keep your eyes on the prize and make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

1.) Realizing you made the wrong career choice
Oh man. I can’t imagine. All of this work you put in to finally get to where you want to be. All of the years you studied in college, all of the struggles you endured, all of the internships you took. All of that…just to end up in the wrong career field. It feels like a waste of time.

But the fact of the matter is, none of your professional jobs will ever be a waste of time. Sure, you might have realized that this is not exactly what you want to do. But there’s something about that job you like, so focus on that. Focus on your strengths and what makes you happy. Use this time to figure out what exactly it is you don’t like, so that you can find the right job the next time. When in doubt, you can always start your own side business. This is 2016; there are tons of ways to do what you love on the side and make that into something more. Or just do it for fun until you find what it is you’re specifically looking for. But keeping yourself motivated in some way will allow you to be prepared when that opportunity you’ve been wishing for finally comes around.


I don’t have all the answers, and considering I’m still at my first real job out of college, I’m still dealing with some of these issues myself. But it’s so important that you talk to someone or take the time to think to yourself. Find someone you can trust to guide you in the right direction. Keep your mind open and allow yourself the space to be expressive and creative.

Hope you all had a great Halloween, and thanks for reading!

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4 Replies to “Top 5 things you worry about at your first real job”

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