Work life – expectations vs. reality
As with most things in life – starting your first job isn’t always what you expect it to be. Unfortunately, some things about working life turn out a bit more complicated than you anticipated, but luckily there are also many things that exceed your expectations.
If you’re starting a new job soon, especially if it’s your first one – these pointers from my two-years of experience at Yellow Door might give you a bit of a head start when getting used to work life:
1. 9 – 5 is no joke
Bad news first – it’s not always easy to sit at your desk and work for 8 hours a day. If you don’t take breaks and set boundaries for yourself, you might risk burning out at some stage. The trick is to get a proper balance between work and the rest, and to make sure you take short breaks during the day to recharge and clear your head.
The time before and after work can also feel very short if you don’t prioritise, so make sure you find helpful ways to switch off when you leave the office and to make time for the other important things in life. If you make a decision to keep work at work and relax afterwards, it is possible.
2. Going out of the office vs working in the office
This one depends on the type of job and office setup, but work life is often much more office-based than you think it would be. There are of course times when you go out for meetings or get to drive around for work errands, but you’ll find you’re in the office at your desk most of the time. Many clients prefer to just deal with work over emails and you don’t always have time to drive for meetings, so once again, it’s important to leave the office every now and then – whether it’s for lunch, meeting someone or just a walk. At YDC, we’re in the heart of Kloof Street with many shops and lunch spots around us, so it makes it a bit easier to get out of the office every now and then.
3. Your boss won’t always be scary
Most of us associate the word ‘boss’ with someone strict (and a bit scary) that only tells you what and what not to do. Most of the time, this isn’t true, and your boss is actually the person you can learn the most from.
Always be respectful, direct and specific with your employers and make sure you’re on the same page with how you feel about your job and how you think you are doing. It’s easy to become resentful and annoyed when you don’t always want to do what they ask of you, but having a good relationship with your boss is essential for a happy work life, and again, you can learn so much from them.
Processes are crucial for any successful business - it’s the difference between being occasionally outstanding and consistently good. We’re talking processes for creating content, addressing matters in the office, communicating with clients, getting work approved, keeping track of responsibilities – the list is endless.
Although it might be very overwhelming in the beginning, see every process as a way to help you improve your work, and to make sure you’re as efficient and as good as you can be. If you feel there’s a process missing that could benefit you or the team, don’t be afraid to suggest it or talk about it with your colleagues.
5. The power of proofreading
Never underestimate the power of proofreading. Even if you’re a good writer, always go through your work a few times, and get someone else to check it as well. This small task will only take a few minutes, but it has the power to really improve your work and can prevent a lot of embarrassment. Some mistakes are small and probably won’t even be noticed, and then there’s bigger ones likes using the completely wrong word or misspelling a client’s name.
Someone in the office once wanted to start an email by asking the client how their week has been, and ended up typing “How has your wee been?” – luckily the client had a sense of humour and we had a great laugh, but that’s the type of small mistakes that can happen J
To end off with - if there’s one thing that really is true about the advertising industry (and is like you would expect it to be), it’s that you’re going to work hard and play hard. Even though it’s long hours, you meet some really cool people and when you work on a client you enjoy, it is as much fun as you imagine it to be.
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