What it’s like to have a real job

Before I moved to Malta, I’d never had a real, grown-up, rent-paying job. I finished school last year and went on to university like you’re supposed  to, working as a tutor and a kids’ tennis coach a few hours a week to earn some pocket money. But when I thought of working full time for a company I didn’t know, I still felt like a freshly hatched chick that was tossed into the adult world.

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Future chocolate 😉

I felt like I didn’t know how to do a single thing. Sure, I could write a poem analysis of 1000 words, translate Tacitus and calculate the ideal dimensions of a buoy using differentiation well enough to get A’s in school. But you can use none of that in most jobs, at least not directly. Instead, you have to – well, what DO you actually need to know? I had no idea.

Most of my expectations of working life were based on what I’d seen in films and TV-series (Would my boss be like Miranda Priestly in The devil wears Prada?), so reality was a pleasant surprise:

You don’t need to know a lot.

Every job is different, especially when it comes to online companies. Therefore, you receive training where everything is explained to you anyway. Nobody expects you to turn up on the first day of your first job and be able to start working right away. And I believe that’s the same for every first job, no matter what kind of degree you have. Unless you’re Mike Ross. (Go watch Suits now if you don’t get it!)

You’re a valuable part of society.

If you have a job, chances are it’s something useful (unless you’re a contract killer like Charon), even if your work is neither highly paid nor valued. For the first time, you actively contribute to society. To me, it feels good to do something with a purpose.

You’re treated like a grown-up.

Most of my co-workers are older than me, but they all treat me like an equal. While I’m glad to be respected, it also comes with expectations and responsibilities, meaning I’m supposed to behave like a grown-up, at least at work. But even real grown-ups giggle about inappropriate stuff sometimes, right?

It’s exhausting.

After 8 hours of work, you’ll be tired. I can’t deny that. Even if your job isn’t physically or mentally demanding, you still have to concentrate for a long time. Until I started my job, I hadn’t done any one thing for longer than 5 hours straight (the 5 hours were my written final examination in German). It’s hard , but it’s possible, and I certainly value my free time much more now.

So far, I have to say I enjoy working a lot. It’s only been a month since I got the job, but I hope it’ll stay that way. After all, I spend 40 hours of my life at work every week, so I’m glad that I don’t hate it.

What expectations did/do you have of your first full time job?

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7 thoughts on “What it’s like to have a real job

  1. Ich erinnere mich genau an die Erwartungen, die ich an meinen ersten Job mit 19 Jahren knüpfte. Ich suchte nach einer interessanten Arbeit in einem namhaften Betrieb in einem abwechslungsreichen, zukunftsorientierten Bereich, wo ich mir mit meiner geringen Qualifikation, nämlich nur der Matura, eine Anstellung erhoffte. Ich fand diese im Hotel Imperial als kaufmännische Angestellte im Kontrollbereich. Meine wenigen Anforderungen waren erfüllt. Meine Kollegenschaft war auch sehr nett. Doch leider reichte der Gehalt zum Leben nicht aus und so war ich gezwungen mir nach 5 Monaten eine neue Arbeitsstelle zu suchen.

    Liked by 1 person

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