Monday, October 12, 2015

Things I'm Learning About Professional Life

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I'm officially a working professional now, and it's been a hectic transition! Although I'm only a few days into my career at this point, I'm already encountering many unexpected new truths about how life as an office-dweller differs from life as a student. Being a solidly mid-twenties person, I'm grappling with some of these experiences a bit later than many people typically would. In no particular order, here are some things that have been surprising to me:

  • I eat more takeout than ever before (some of it reimbursable when I order for delivery to the office, but that accounts for 20% or less of my anticipated takeout consumption per Monday through Friday), but I actually see my overall food expenditures decreasing. Part of it is that many of the meals I'm thinking of are at my company's moderately subsidized cafeteria. Another part of it, embarrassingly enough, probably comes from my prior inability to be efficient about my grocery shopping. In my defense, NYC groceries are extremely expensive, such that Whole Foods can average out to be one of the cheaper options.
  • I have much less time and patience for shopping, though it might be a little early to say that this new state of affairs will last. On the one hand, this has led me to go back on my resolve not to buy designer denim for my replacement pair of jeans. I went to a few places to try on more moderately priced ones, and it was a much more time-intensive and frustrating process than I expected. It makes me reevaluate my feelings on the Rag & Bone "The Skinny" jeans I tried on a few months ago, which have been the most flattering pair I've tried in recent memory. Relative to other styles, they're not as strangely thin as i thought, though the spandex content is very high.
  • Somewhat related to both of the above points, I worry a little bit about lifestyle inflation. Part of the thought process is that I'm fortunate enough to be at an income level where I can do almost everything I want: be extremely aggressive about student loan payments, make some decent efforts at saving, and maintain a comfortable lifestyle if I'm savvy about it. I will also be working hard. For context, my first week involved one session of working to 2:30 A.M. and another where I stopped around midnight. It's what I signed up for, and for this stage of my life, it works, but well, it becomes easy to say "screw it, I have a little more money than I have time or energy" on various things here and there, mostly on modest things like a generously sized $5.00 lunch at the aforementioned company cafeteria (excellent price for NYC). 
  • Women's work shoes are the absolute worst, and basically all of the women in my group of fellow new employees agree. I wear last season's version of the Cole Haan Tali Wedge, which I had been wearing to internships and interviews for months. Somehow, despite the shoes having been well broken-in by now, they still made my feet hurt rather terribly in the first few days. 
  • I actually enjoy wearing pants to work. Throughout the last few years, I never wore pants for business formal or business casual, ever. This was partially borne of the extreme difficulty of finding a flattering pair of slacks and partially because I thought most slacks were uncomfortable I finally broke that streak last week, and I actually didn't mind it. I wear these a slightly cropped older design of these Marisa Fit slim slacks from Loft, which are pretty good, though I really haven't tried on many other styles. One factor contributing to my newfound fondness for pants is that the climate control in the office can be a bit uneven, leaning towards being too cold. Pants are helpful for that, at least in this narrow window of autumn before tights-wearing weather really sets in.

Back when you first started working full-time, did anything about the transition surprise you? How often are you able to cook, especially to bring food for lunch? How often do you get takeout for dinner because of working late? 

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