*By Simone Heard
I’m an academic advisor and work with traditional and non-traditional college students for a living. The structure, income, quality benefits, and having a place to wake up and go to on a consistent basis are on a good path for #adulting. However, I’ve had those “What am I doing with my life?” moments while sitting in my cubicle, staring into a computer screen, taking calls and meetings, and assisting students with degree planning and retention.
When I graduated from college with a BA in English with a focus in creative writing, I had big dreams and major goals in mind for myself. I hoped to dive into career opportunities that would allow me to put that degree to work. I applied for different positions in my hometown and even took some faith leaps applying in areas in Los Angeles and New York City. I just believed the world of journalism, publishing, and creative writing would be ready to welcome another eager and hungry millennial fresh out of college, a full-time dream opportunity, complete with my own office staring directly into the city (or towards the beach depending on where I’d end up in this fantasy world.) I’d also have a cool crew of co-workers turned close friends who I’d meet after work for happy hours and memorable nights out to celebrate our wins and success and talk nonstop about how much we were killin’ it in our professional lives.
Then reality hit.
After job hunting for about five months before I finished school, a handful of job interviews, some unexciting and turned down offers, and plenty of rejected applications later, I accepted a position as an academic advisor. And thus, began my journey into the land of 9 to 5. Working in the world of higher education has had its peaks and pits, but getting to help people work towards their goals of finishing their degrees is a rewarding experience.
There have been days where I’ve been thrilled and felt passionate about what I do, and there have also been days where I felt like I wasn’t enough and failing in the process. I honestly never thought I’d be an advisor. It wasn’t a career path I envisioned outside of being a writer, but the land of 9 to 5 has taught me a lot and continues to do so. I know a lot of people, especially millennials, who hate their jobs and have zero interest in working a 9 to 5.
But as a millennial, I’ve learned the importance of learning all you can no matter what position you’re working in. There are things you’ll learn on a professional and personal level that will serve you well, if you’re open to learning, listening, and paying attention to what’s happening around you every day.
How can you use what you’re seeing and learning in your own life and in future positions? I’ve learned to avoid burning bridges. In a perfect world, almost everyone would have perfect shifts, perfect bosses, and perfect co-workers, clients, or customers, who cause us no stress, worries, or problems. The only problem is perfection doesn’t exist. No matter where you work, conflict, stress, and annoyances are bound to arise. And the best thing you can do is lean into what’s coming, exercise some self-control, and avoid jeopardizing your livelihood and professionalism with a bad attitude, negativity, being a gossip, posting a reckless social media rant, or anything else that could burn bridges.
Finally, the land of 9 to 5 has taught me to not only work my job, but has been a motivation to chase my dreams, too. It’s a blessing being employed, but what else are you dreaming for? What excites you and ignites your passions? Think of those things and continue working your job while you side hustle your dreams.
Who knows? One day the dreams you’ve been side hustling may flourish into major things that change your life in exciting ways, all thanks to your hard work, sacrifice, and working in the land of 9 to 5.
About the Author: Simone Heard is a writer and blogger. Unconventional believer, beach lover, and a self-proclaimed brunch, coffee, and wine connoisseur. She writes for the blog Making Waves. If you would like to submit to ATOB, please email AsToldOverBrunch@gmail.com.