25 things i learned in 5 years of day jobs



Today is my last day at my day job. What I’m feeling right now is a potent mix between the first day of school, the last day of school, the morning of a flight to Hawaii, and the day of a skydiving expedition (I’m just guessing on that last one; I’ve never actually been skydiving).
I’ve had full-time day jobs for five years now, and in that time, I’ve learned some good stuff. I’m saying goodbye to this particular world of work in lots of ways, and one of those is by remembering what I’ve learned. Which is, actually, quite a lot when I take a moment to give myself some recognition.
. . .
  • Negotiation is your friend when you’re about to accept a job. Try it! If they really want you, they might give you what you want. If they say no, you’ll still feel proud of yourself for trying.
  • When walking all the way across town in the summer, wear shoes that won’t make your feet bleed. From experience, this means either flip flops or TOMS.
  • When searching for your doctor (or dentist), it’s good to go on referrals from friends. And don’t settle for a practitioner who doesn’t seem to care about you. You deserve somebody who cares. They might be harder to find, but those sorts of practitioners actually are out there.
  • Speak up in meetings. In general, people seem to value your opinion quite a bit more than you think they will.
  • Steer clear of gossiping. It might make you feel like you’re momentarily part of the inner circle, but it makes you feel wretched afterward.
  • Say hi to people. In an office environment, it tends to take some effort to find people’s awesomeness.
  • Going outside for a walk when your brain starts to melt from staring at a screen too long is an extremely good productivity tool.
  • Be prepared for many different climates, even when you’re working in an uber-controlled atmosphere. That umbrella in your drawer saved you many times. As did that pair of nubby socks, and those two (yes, two) pashmina thingies.
  • Outlines are vastly underrated. They make writing so much easier!
  • Do whatever you can to be ready to submit before the deadline. Sometimes, unexpected things happen.
  • The world of cubicles seems to be a thriving stronghold of diet culture. Know that, and absent yourself accordingly.
  • The most unexpected people will be your cheerleaders when they find out about how you’re chasing your dreams. Be receptive to their cheering.
  • Decorate your space in a way that makes you smile, whether you’re planning to be there for a month or a year.
  • Contrary to what you think, getting things done ups your mood and makes you feel better about yourself. Get things done.
  • When you need information from somebody, ask them right away. That generally works much better than putting it off and asking them later.
  • If you’re going to need somebody to do something, give them twice as much time as you think it will take.
  • Don’t forget to breathe deeply.
  • Do stretches in the bathroom.
  • Little luxuries are the best. Like decaffeinated black tea with cream.
  • Give the security guards good, quality smiles.
  • A good book will almost make you look forward to your commute. Almost.
  • Each person has a different way of working. It might take a while to find out what that is, but once you do, it helps things to flow more easily for everybody involved.
  • Fuschia tends to be a great conversation starter.
  • Doing absolutely nothing is the antidote to many work-related afflictions.
  • Every person, no matter what they look like, contains a vast, complex world within them. They have hopes and dreams and sorrows and joy, just like you.

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