From a young age I’ve always been taught to work for what you want and as soon as I turned 16 I was eager to start working and earning my own money. My first ever job was in a sports shop where I spent my weekends organising rails and rails of tracksuit bottoms and football shirts, only for some bratty 8 year old to pull it all off and make me start all over again. After this I flitted between various different retail jobs before settling into a pub job in my second year of university.
I thought once I finished my degree I would have more of an idea of which direction my career was heading in but this was simply not the case. I moved back in my with my parents and stayed within the hospitality sector as this is what I knew and enjoyed. Up until very recently I thought this would be my career and my long term plan was to eventually become a GM of my own site. After completing my training and making it to assistant manager I decided that this was not for me and so I jumped ship to a simple office job. After working in hospitality for nearly 5 years a 9-5 is like a dream come true. No more evenings, no more weekends, I finally have a part of my life back that I felt had been missing for a very long time. Although I don’t think I’ll ever go back, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, as long as it meant I would end up exactly where I am today. It’s now been just over 3 months since I started working in my office and today I thought I would share 10 things I’ve learn about working in an office so far.
1. Sitting in a chair staring at a computer all day is the least active job you can do. I’ve gone from walking about 5 miles a day down to about 1.5 miles a day. The recommended number of steps is around ten thousand and I use to easily hit this running around the restaurant all day. Now I try and walk as much as possible, opting for the stairs over the lift and using any excuse to get out of the office and walk around for 5 minutes.
2. I’ve mastered the art of looking busy and boy am I a pro. Kind of like when you do the hazard perception part of a theory test and you click every few seconds just to make sure you don’t miss anything. A click of the mouse here, a tap of a few keys there and bob’s your uncle!
3. Offices have this backwards etiquette that on your birthday you bring in cake for everyone else? I still don’t understand why this is- surely everyone should be buying me cake on my birthday not vice versa? Although I don’t understand this rule, I am certainly not complaining as there seems to be some kind of sugary delight every other week in my place!
4. This brings me to my next point. I spend 75% of my working day eating! I have breakfast and lunch and then spend the rest of the day snacking on various treats – whatever I can get my hands on really. We even have 4pm snack time in my office just to see you through that last hour before home time. It’s all well and good on days when I’m prepared and I’ve taken fruit and raisins or veggies and dip, but on the off days I’ve forgotten, I usually end up raiding the vending machine. Although I am blessed with a high metabolism, I still try to eat healthy and reduce the amount of sugar I am eating. These vending machine days totally screw that up and mixed with how not active the job is, this can be a disastrous recipe for those not as lucky as me.
5. As soon as I got promoted in my old job I rejoiced at no longer having to wear the awful, awful uniform. That was until I got home and realised I had absolutely diddly squat to wear. When working in the restaurant, it was more often that not I would go home with various food and drink debris all over myself but that doesn’t happen in an office. In fact I would almost go as far as to say I miss having a uniform so I don’t need to worry about what I am going to wear everyday. At first I just wore the same five tops on rotation to see what other people wore and get some ideas, but now I’ve raided my mums wardrobe and got some inspiration. My workwear wardrobe is now full of colour, prints and even a couple of summer dresses thrown in for good measure.
6. In the office world you know shit just got real when they’ve removed the ‘kind’ from their ‘kind regards’. When you`re furious with a supplier or another employee, the best thing to do is remove the ‘kind’ from your ‘kind regards’
7. The first time I was left on my own I was absolutely petrified I would do something wrong or completely screw something up. I successfully lasted the afternoon with the business still intact and I am now quite happy to be left on my own to get on with what I need. Especially when it’s after a night of one too many cocktails and I’ve spent the morning trying not to spew everywhere every time I move.
8. Your working environment can have such an impact on your mentality without you even realising. By the time I left my old job it had become such a horrible place to work with toxic people and an unpleasant environment for most. In all honesty I had been unhappy and looking for a change for a while, but one day I just had enough and within a week I’d handed in my notice ready to move onto the next chapter. Now that I am settled in my new job and my new routine, I can feel the difference in myself and I’ve had tons of people notice the positive change in me.
9. You don’t always have to be friends with people that you work with but it does help. I am lucky enough to share my office with one my oldest friend who actually helped me get the job, so this of course this is an added bonus. But this is often not the case. Watch who you confide in as you don’t want to splurge all your personal business to the office gossip. I tend to keep myself to myself and only share very little of my personal life. There’s always going to be that one co-worker who irritates the hell out of you – but just remain professional and polite and remember you only have to see these people at work and not in your own time.
10. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everybody was new once and everybody had to learn the ropes just like you did. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help, even if it may seem stupid, It’s better to clarify if you’re not sure than to just make it up. Starting a new job can be scary and daunting, especially if its out of your comfort zone and completely new. Be patient and stick at it and it could end up being very rewarding.