Monday, February 24, 2014

10 More Things I've Learned Since Graduation

It feels like ages ago that I wrote this post about what I'd learned since graduating college. I've recently been combing the archives of Locked Out for good posts and reading through this one has made me realize just how much has changed since then! I mean, it's been almost two years since I wrote it. I think it's a good time for a follow up, considering my current life path. 

1. It's ok to move on. 

When I first graduated, many of my friends got jobs right away and immediately quit. I thought they were insane. I've never quit a job unless I had another job lined up or there were extreme circumstances (like cutting part of my thumb off!). However, I've realized that there are more important things than a job. If it's not a good fit, you're not doing yourself any favors by staying there. If you're miserable, you're not going to do your best. 

2. You need to dress professionally.

I use to dance around the idea of professional attire. What does that even mean? I asked myself. Some things work in some offices and some just, um, don't. However, at the end of the day, some things aren't professional and by continuing to wear them in a professional setting just brings you down. There definitely is a way to appear professional, adult, and put together and still have a bit of your personality... but some things just won't fly. 

3. Network.

God, it's so important! I used to get so annoyed by networking, but now I see the benefits. It's important to have connections, to have people to turn to and ask questions. They are valuable. However, at the same time, if you don't want to connect with a certain person, you don't have to. Networking isn't a contract and you shouldn't feel pressured. 

4. Keep a planner.

I love planners. Everyone knows that. But sometimes I lose mine in the clutter, especially when I'm depressed. However, I've realized how important it is for me to keep notes. Who I've spoken with, phone numbers, important events, things like that. A place to stash business cards or pamphlets for the future. It'll keep you organized and at the end of the year, it's a great look back at your year! 

5. Order business cards.

Just do it. You can upload your own on and have them printed for around $25, including shipping. It's totally worth it. The above design is mine!

6. Keep your contacts list organized.

I don't know about you, but the contacts in my iPhone and my gmail contacts were a mess until a few weeks ago. I realized one that I had several entries for some people and hadn't saved some email addresses into my phone -- or the addresses were saved, but to a separate contact, not their phone number. Get it organized and you'll make sure to always call, email, or text the right person! 

7. Treat your life like your job.

I know that's weird. But hear me out. Everyday, people rush to their jobs and act a certain way... then they rush home and act a different way. I'm not saying you should "clock in" at home or anything or treat your husband or boyfriend like an employee... but you should treat your entire life as your career. Your home, your finances, your cell phone, your day-to-day things should all be a part of who you are. The job you work should be a part of that too. Stay organized, stay focused, and stay confident. I was very timid at my previous job and had trouble making decisions, even though at home, I know exactly what I want and I'm "on" all the time! You can have it both ways. 

8. Stay creative.

Going from college to full-time work was very hard for me. As time has passed, I've written less and less. I can barely even keep a journal now! I wish I had made a more concerted effort to stay creative and to keep writing and submitting my writing, but I can't change the past. Being creative was a huge source of happiness and success for me... I want to keep at it!

9. Always have a to do list.

Even on your days off. Even when you're looking for work or on the weekend or whatever. Always have a list of what you want to accomplish. It's the number one way to end the day feeling confident. 

10. Don't sweat the small stuff.

You're going to have people that dislike you. Sometimes, things are going to be unfair. You're going to encounter people who will astonish you at how successful-yet-crazy they are. You will be shocked and amazed at people's life stories, and utterly bewildered by childish behavior. That's life. Don't sweat it. Don't sweat it and don't make yourself crazy worrying about, well, their crazy. Just go with the flow. 

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