Being twenty five is a weird age. It struck me the other day (and no idea why I hadn’t come to this conclusion earlier) but I’m now in my mid-twenties. I remember being eighteen and thinking ‘err twenty five, that’s so old’. Now, I’m actually twenty-five and I barely can get up to the sound of my alarm and I definitely don’t wash the pots every night, I’m not sure I even qualify as a fully-fledged adult.
So, what’s it like being three, nearly four years into the world of work? Post-graduate scheme and post-knowing what I’m meant to do with my life?
One: Well, the good news is that you get used to the routine and the rhythm of work. Don’t get me wrong, my morning routine isn’t quite on point just yet, but we’re a hell of a lot further on than falling out of bed half an hour later than I should and having ‘staying awake’ as the main aim for the day n- although today I am quite tired.
Two: The other bit of good news is that you don’t feel half as overwhelmed as you did at the start, I remember starting work and thinking ‘How I have managed to get here is beyond me’ and for the next six months I was convinced someone was going to throw me out because they’d made a mistake in the interview process. Fast forward three years later, I’ve still not been throw out – so that’s a plus. You get used to the idea that you actually are qualified to work in this big shiny company and that you actually might be okay at it.
Three: You make really good mates. The other bit of unexpected and really good news is that you meet people you actually like… surely not? Yes, yes it’s true. You spend an ungodly amount of time at work, it’s really no surprise that you meet people that you really think great things of. It wasn’t something I really thought about going into work, but it’s a wonderful, unexpected thing.
Four: You feel really young and really old at the same time. It was just yesterday I was chatting about how old I feel and I know – to anyone reading this that is over twenty five you may be thinking ‘you feel old?!’ but I definitely do. But that is also conflicted with how young I feel in terms of being capable of doing life. It’s a weird age.
Five: You get closer to figuring out what you want to do with your life. Now this one for me is huge because I had gone through a right rollercoaster of trying to figure out what career is right for me. I think it’s reassuring to know that actually you do find your area and whilst it might not be fully defined yet – I am still a long way off, at least I’m further on than I was.
Six: You feel more confident. Although it’s great to be new and naive and ask the stupid questions, it’s also great to feel a bit more comfortable in the place you work. When you first start everything feels new and weird, but after a while you get a lot more comfortable and you don’t feel embarrassed about not knowing the answer to things, you feel confident saying ‘I’m not sure, I can find out’.
Seven: You realise everyone is a human. This one is a tad odd but stick with it. When you first start work I think we have a perception, or at least I did, that every successful person you meet is godlike and you would never be capable of that. As you get a little more into work you realise that those people are just like you. They, in many cases, started just like you have and they’ve just been there a little longer.
Eight: The winter is still shit. Thinking back to when I first started work and I was tired beyond belief, I’d stumble out of bed, late. I’d leave the house (of course forgetting my lunch) and then I’d look at the car. Frozen over. Shit. It would baffle me every time and every morning I’d forget and subsequently be ten minutes behind schedule. Also defrosting the car is such a rubbish job. Well, that all still happens, although most days now I remember it’s frozen over but it is still cold cold cold and dark dark dark. The winter mornings are the worst and that doesn’t change.
Nine: You get to know yourself more. About two years ago, this wasn’t even on my radar as a thing to be mindful of. But now it’s one of the best lessons I’ve learnt in the past couple of years. Understanding how you work, what you enjoy doing, what you absolutely despise, what pisses you off, how not eating effects your mood, how you work with other people are all things you learn about yourself as you go. Learning these things means that you can work towards having a more enjoyable work experience because you know which things you enjoy and which things you don’t. It means you can be prescriptive with how you work in order to get the most enjoyment out of it. Work best when you’ve just eaten? Okay, well get all the hard stuff out the way post-meal when you’re working at your best and then when the happiness of having a full belly wears off, your mood will be boosted by the meeting you’ve conveniently scheduled with one of your good friends.