I’ve been living and working in the “real world” for a month and a half and it has been quite. the. experience. Putting bills and financial responsibility aside, the single greatest transition has been going to work every day, all day. Thankfully, my job is rather flexible, and I am able to work from home every now and then, but I am required to be physically present in the office most days.
Because I was accustomed to college classes, that last an hour and forty minutes at the most, I didn’t go to work especially prepared on my first week to be tied down for eight hours straight. Because of this, I’ve put together a list of items that have made spending each day at work significantly more enjoyable…things that make me feel more comfortable and at home, even while I’m at work!
I suffer from Spring allergies annually, but that’s pretty much the extent of my allergic sensitivity. Turns out offices are full of things to make you sneeze. Because my first week of work, sneeze I did! Constantly. Thinking about it, it makes sense. People with pets carry their dander to the office…there are dusty computers and files…perfume and cologne everywhere…all the perfect ingredients for an allergy attack. Pack some allergy medication to take if you find your nose a-runnin’.
Many entry-level workers receive a laptop instead of a desktop. I never, ever used a wireless mouse in college, but it quickly became a “must-have” once I started working. Because I’m on my computer all day long, my wrists were starting to feel achy and uncomfortable. I promptly purchased a wireless mouse, and I’m a lot happier!
3. Coffee Mug
I’m lucky enough that my company has a fully stocked break room with free and unlimited coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soda, and lots of snacks. Actually, lucky might be the wrong word. In danger of gaining 30 pounds before Christmas is probably more realistic. And while many offices don’t have all of that, many offer free coffee or tea. There’s something homey and familiar about drinking out of a favorite mug instead of disposable styrofoam cups. I store a mug at work and bring in my to-go coffee cup when I want a cup of ‘jo in the morning.
4. Water Bottle
Every morning, I fill up my favorite water bottle and tote it along with me to work. I drink out of it all day, refilling it as needed. Just like the coffee mug, it’s more comfortable and familiar than using plastic solo cups. Although my water bottle goes to-and-from with me, I also keep a plastic cup at work with my mug. Moral of the story: bring several of your favorite beverage receptacles with you.
I am totally obsessed with my headphones because they came with three different earbud sizes from which I could choose. (I hate Apple headphones because they’re too large for my ears and make them hurt!) Anyway, headphones are an absolute must if you’re able to effectively do your job while wearing them. If you’re required to cold call all day, I don’t particularly recommend that you listen to music. For everyone else–invest in comfortable headphones. It is wonderful to listen to music, podcasts, or the radio at work to make the time go buy faster.
Okay, this may seem ridiculous, but let me explain. Offices are absolutely, unequivocally freezing cold. Especially in the summer, when the air conditioning is on full blast. I don’t know about you, but I’m an extremely chilly person, so even wearing jeans and a cardigan isn’t enough. I brought in a blanket and haven’t looked back. I simply drape it over my legs whenever I get a chill (all day every day), and warm up.
If you’re like most grads, you’ll be packing your lunch in order to save money. I’m a proud lunch packer Monday through Friday! While eating your lunch at work is a good thing, seeds or spinach in your teeth is a bad thing. Rancid breath is just as bad. Especially when you have a 1:00pm meeting scheduled…not a great way to make friends with your co-workers! Emergency floss and bad-breath-blasting gum are great sidekicks to keep at your desk.
I’ve never been a compact mirror type of girl, but believe me girls–you need one! Grab a cheap one, you will use it all the time. I scratched my face the other day and inadvertently made my cheek bleed! Thankfully, I was checking my teeth after lunch and saw that my cheek was red and was able to clean myself up! How embarrassing would that have been? Get a mirror.
9. Small Notebook & Pen
Our world is connected through technology 24/7. The working world is connected through technology 25/8. It’s a little overwhelming. Sometimes, I enjoy making to-do lists on paper, or doodling, or writing out my thoughts throughout the day. I find it relaxing to put a pen to paper instead of a finger to keyboard.
Those are my suggestions! College grads already in the real world–what would you add to this list?