Saturday, January 8, 2011

Student vs. career woman

I am happy to say that I not only survived my first real week of a real job, but that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Getting up at 5:30 every morning—something that I haven't done since high school and which I never EVER wanted to repeat again—wasn't even that big of a deal because I had a very good reason for waking up. And doing most of my 2.5 hours of driving in the dark didn't even depress me one bit because I was just so happy about the way things were working out.

As much as I loved college, I looked at most of my classes as entertaining and informative, rather than, um, useful (except for my editing minor classes, of course). I was more dedicated to work because (1) I needed the money so that I could pay for my crappy apartment and buy yucky food, and (2) I needed to build up my resume somehow so that I wouldn't be left with nothing but a degree in English when I graduated from college.

However, even though I was very reliable and worked very hard with both my BYU internships, I was never able to fully overcome that student stigma. Most people seem to think that students are unreliable and incapable of real tasks—the only things they can handle are easy office duties and short projects. It wasn't so bad at the Humanities Publication Center—Mel was actually an amazing employer—but there was still the idea that school was supposed to come before work and that it was okay if I didn't live up to any grand expectations.

At times I appreciated the leniency I was given, because being a student really is hard and we need all the sympathy we can get. But toward the end of college, I was tired of it. I wanted to be a real, important member of a team and I wanted to be treated like an equal. I've never really been good at being at the bottom of the totem pole.

Having a full-time career—complete with benefits, a salary, and my very own fishbowl cubicle—was everything and more than I hoped it would be. I am not working primarily to get experience for something better—the things I do affect the real world in some way, and that is much more satisfying that simply "getting experience." And it has been surprisingly fun to work with salespeople rather than writers and editors. There's a bit more variety to interact with, and it is much less exhausting to work with a bunch of guys rather than a bunch of girls. Just sayin'.

In short, being a career woman is MUCH easier than being a student. No more trying to butter up your professors so that you can get that good grade or that good letter or recommendation. No more trying to learn additional skills that could possibly someday in the distant future give you an edge when you're looking for a job. And best of all, the career day ends at 5:00 p.m. When you're a student, there is never an end to studying, writing, and reading. I don't think I'll ever get over how cool it is to be able to go home at night and actually be done for the day.

I may be eating my words in a few months and wishing desperately for college life again, but for now I'm pretty content. :)

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