How to Survive Your 9-5
Anyone who has a 9-5 will tell you that the worst part about a 9-5 is that you work 9-5. While I'm lucky enough to have transitioned out of the 9-5 life, while I was working my desk jobs I often find myself daydreaming about the huge list of things I would rather be doing with my time or could actually be doing with my time, other than being stuck at work. Dreading your morning alarm can be extremely disheartening, especially if you’re not working your dream job. And let's be honest, most people don't start out with their dream job.
But you know what? That's okay! I'm here to tell you how you can survive your 9-5 job but also use that not-so-glamourous job to focus on reaching for your dream job. It's important to put things into perspective and realize that this 9-5 is just a season of life and may not be where you ultimately end up. So here are the tips that helped me survive my 9-5 after college!
Treat It Like Your Dream Job
Easier said than done, I know, but what’s the harm in trying, right? One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received came from one of my nearly lifelong friends. Fake it until you make it. Put maximum effort into your hair, makeup, and wardrobe in the morning. Dress like the lady boss you want to be. Not only will this make fantastic first impressions, it will slowly make you more confident too, allowing you to take chances on new job opportunities or whatever your heart desires. Treat your work like it’s your dream work too. You want to impress people with your diligence, attention to detail, hard work, etc. Think about what the people at your current office would say to a future employer who calls about a reference or what they’ll say when they leave. You never know how a simple act of going above and beyond in your current job will impact your future career moves.
Take Advantage of your 5-9
Side hustle anyone? Use your 5-9 to your advantage. I know it can be tough after a long day at the office to think about coming home and doing MORE work but what are you actually doing with your 5-9 if you’re not doing something constructive? Believe me, I know better than most how much you just want to curl up in a ball on the couch and be dead to the world after work. But I tried that once (during my DC internship after college) and it didn’t work well. I was depressed and when I wasn’t sleeping or eating I was shopping. Not good. My advice? Throw yourself in to whatever is going to get you to your dream job. Maybe that's working social media for small businesses as a side gig, freelance writing, starting a blog or an Etsy shop, etc. Whatever your 5-9 looks like for you, grab those evenings by the horns and run with it. If I hadn't been focused on doing as much as I could for the blog after work on weekdays, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in today with the blog.
Network, Network, Network
Networking is so important and I cannot stress it enough how much you can benefit from it. I’ve had multiple people who have met me over the course of my internship who would tell me about positions that were opening up. Networking can also be a huge boost for you professionally. If you’re memorable for all of the right reasons, people will naturally think of you. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there (in a professional manner, of course). You never know when someone might hear about your dream job opening up. Networking can be super fun too! Try connecting with your local alumni chapter or find networking events for young professionals in areas that interest you.
Focus on the Big Picture
You will not be working this job forever. Eventually, you will move on to something better but until then, make the most of it. The big picture doesn’t just mean talking about the future. A good job means happy hours with friends, a nice apartment, health insurance, etc. We often take stuff like this for granted (um, guilty) but the truth is, there are some people who work harder for much less. Be proud of your accomplishments and be grateful for the experience you’re gaining. Your current job is just a stop along the way to the destination that is your dream job.