4 Things No One Tells You About Starting Your First Full-Time Job
I recently graduated with my Masters of Social Work degree and moved to Chicago (a new city) less than 24 hours after graduation. I had just gotten my first ever “big girl” job with full time salary and benefits. I was working 9-5, and finally getting paid to do what I’d just spent six years studying.
The past few months have been a whirlwind of new experiences and lessons learned. There are a lot of things that people tell you about “adulating” and starting your first full-time job, but here are some things they don’t:
1. Living alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
In college I experienced living in a house with seven other people, so I really wanted to live alone. I then lived with only two other people, and finally, when I moved to Chicago for my new job, I was able to live alone for a bit. I thought it was going to be great – so peaceful and quiet. WRONG! It’s lonely, and when I was stuck inside for two days because of the polar vortex, I just about lost my marbles. If you do decide to live alone (which may work for you!) just make sure you have some good friends to talk to every now and then when you need some human contact.
2. Dating is hard.
If you’re moving to a new city alone like I was, maybe dating is on your mind. A new city means a new dating pool. I’m not sure how every place may be, but in a big city like Chicago, it can feel hard to meet people. Obviously, there are the online dating apps like Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid, but those can get tricky and overwhelming. I found myself lacking confidence and feeling very hopeless. Dating can be tiring in a big city, but I found the most confidence by leaning on my girlfriends who were in the same situation that I was in.
3. Adulting is expensive.
You finally have money in your bank account, but it runs out real quick. I bought a condo and spent a lot of money filling it with furniture. Then came the mortgage payment and the gas bill in a brutal Chicago winter. Then I also needed to eat and, you know, have a nice night out with friends every now and then to stay sane! And then your paycheck is gone, and you don’t get paid for another two weeks! Which is another problem…
4. Money management is not so easy.
You finally have a regular paycheck coming in and it’s great. Now this is where the money management piece comes in. I always thought I was pretty good at managing my money, but I realized it was because I had little to worry about and not much money coming in anyway. Now this “big” paycheck looks big until you subtract all that money for rent, utilities, groceries, and all the things that are unfortunately necessary for survival. Here is a handy budget template that I used to start managing my income and spending.
Overall, adulting is hard, but there are so many great tools and tips out there that make it so much easier to deal with. There are apps and websites that make managing your money and keeping track of bills, dating, meetings, schedules, etc. that make living your life as an adult much easier. Finding your niche in the world of adulthood can be tricky and frustrating – you will have your ups and downs, but eventually there will come a time where you realize, “Wow! I’m really doing it!”