One Year In: Learning to Adapt in the Real World

This is the first post in our "One Year In" series where you hear from professionals who are one year into their career.  Hear their stories as they reflect on their experiences and what they've done, accomplished, and learned in the past 12 months or so on the job.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more posts from the One Year In series.


Anna H

Anna H received her B.A. in Marketing from Michigan State University in May of 2016. She currently works as a Sales Representative in Pittsburgh, PA. Anna is an avid MSU sports fan, podcast lover, and reality TV enthusiast


 

I am a planner. I am always planning out my future. Whether it is scheduling my day or the next 10 years, I want to be prepared. Being a Type-A planner is a great “resume” trait to have, but I realized that it has robbed me of fully appreciating each phase of my life. 

During my senior year of college I had a job lined up after graduation and I constantly imagined what my life would be like. However, I could be assigned to any part of the country, which led to even more time dedicated to envisioning my future in various locations. I have to admit now, that this future-based focus kept me from appreciating my senior year at MSU as much as I could have. The easy access to friends, the predictable class and work expectations are things that I didn’t realize I would miss. 

However, even though life is not exactly how I envisioned it (shocker, right?), I truly do enjoy the perks of working full time as compared to being in undergrad. I have enough money to travel (see you soon, Europe!), time for my hobbies, and am fully financially independent. 

Not only have I become financially independent, but I have also become a more independent and self-motivated person overall. Back in undergrad, I lived in a house with 3 of my best friends and was constantly surrounded by individuals striving for success. Moving to a new city by myself and working alone was full of challenges. In my role as a sales rep, I didn’t appreciate how much I would need to motivate myself in order to be successful. No one is watching what I do on a daily basis, or giving me a “4.0” for a project well done. It is all on me to determine what I want out of the job, and in turn, what I need to put into the job. As a sales rep I also have flexible hours. Flexibility within a job is music to millennials’ ears, but it also comes with it’s own obstacles. I am able to adjust my schedule to accommodate appointments and listen to morning conference calls in my pajamas on the couch. Yes these perks are great, but there is also no clear separation from work life and home life. I found myself working at night and feeling guilty when I wasn’t. I learned that even though flexible schedules work well for some individuals, I need structure. I created a schedule for myself that I follow as best I can, every day. This helped me to fully commit myself to the times when I was working and dedicate my time outside of work to my other interests. 

Entering the workforce is scary and exciting all at the same time, but before you do, be sure to fully embrace your time in undergrad. This time in your life will never come again, so don’t rob your joy in the moment by yearning for the future. Once you do enter the workforce, you will learn as you go how to make meaningful relationships, grow in your career, and create a life structure that allows you to thrive. It might not be as easy as it was in college, but it makes this time that much more exciting and full of possibilities.