10 Tips To Prepare Women for “The Real World.”
Editor’s Note: HAPPY JUNE! I am so excited that we are sharing experiences about being a woman in the workplace this month. If you have a good story + advice, please submit here! Our first post is by Sarah Heinss. She blogs at Simply Sarah Writes, and this post was first published on her blog here! She tweets at @sarahheinss – Lauren
It has been one whole year since I graduated from college. This fact officially makes me…
One: An adult.
Two: A participant in “The Real World.”
This year has taught me a LOT. About careers, about guys, about life, and most importantly, about myself. So for all of my little dearies who just walked that stage, here’s what I’ve learned. Here’s what you need to know.
10 Tips to Prepare Women for “The Real World”
*Disclaimer: this is the advice, based on my experience, that I would give. But every situation is different.
**P.S. Every tip below is stuff I am still working on and reminding myself of every day.
1. Get a Job. Any Job.
No, I’m not insulting your intelligence. I know it isn’t easy. I also know we’ve been raised with a glamorized view of what our first job should look like. I don’t know about you, but I expected it to look something like working out of the Empire State building in a pants suit, ordering people around and directing Hollywood movies on the side. REALITY CHECK: I graduated from college, quickly realized that jobs, even with connections, and ESPECIALLY in New York are not easy to come by, so I waited tables for the first 7 months out. You know what they say, its easier to get a job when you have one. Just get a job and start making some money.
2. Aim for Your Dream
Just because you don’t have your dream job, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for it. Make connections, talk to the people that are working your dream job and figure out what its going to take to get you there. Is it really what you want? Do you want it bad enough? And if necessary, start at the bottom. The fact is, it’s going to take hard work. If you are crazy passionate and work really hard, something great will come of it. For me, I started a Wedding Cinematography business and though it is crazy hard work. I LOVE IT. It’s a great thing to pursue a dream that feels alive.
3. Say No to Dates
The world of boys and girls outside of college is a different universe. Nothing could have prepared me for it. People don’t have a tendency to maintain casual friendships, or even good friendships with the opposite sex. It’s kinda like, “Hey, what’s your name? Cool, wanna go out to dinner?” Holy Smokes! Can a brotha get a minute? Maybe people are desperate. Maybe people are just more forward. The point is, if you don’t want to go or you’re not into him, say no. Plain and simple. You get to choose here. Enjoy that privilege.
4. Say Yes to Dates
Wait…but you just said…? Yes. Don’t be afraid to YES if you are mildly to severely interested. Especially if you’ve been burned in the past. Get over yourself, and try again. Yes, it does mean you run the risk of actually falling for someone again. I know, breathe. You’ll be ok. And if you’re not getting asked out, allow your friends to set you up on a blind date. Yeah, it’s awkward. But it also makes for great stories. Grow up. You’re young, single, out-of-college, and in need of a little male attention. Let’s be real, who doesn’t? So if you’re interested, say yes.
5. Take a Trip
Around February, I was so depressed that I decided I didn’t care what anyone thought. I had just interviewed for a good job, and knew that if I got it (which I did), I might not have time for frolicking about the country. So I bought a ticket, and by George, though everyone thought I was crazy, I headed to California for 2 weeks by myself. Was it the best trip of my life? No. Would I necessary recommend an exact replication of my trip? No. But did I have all kinds of crazy adventures? Yes. Do I have crazy stories? Yes. Ask me about them. I can say one thing for sure: I lived. You don’t have to put down 1,000 bucks to go on an incredibly memorable trip. And you sure don’t want to spend your whole life saying, if only I’d gone on a trip before I had kids.
6. Move Out Of Your Parents’ House
I repeat, move out of your parents’ house. I know I know, it’s just so cheap. You just can’t afford to move out. You just need it for a little while, which turns into 5 years. I understand living with your parents as your getting your feet wet and finding a job, but after you have the job, settle for a dump that is at least a place of your own. I would put a 6 month cap on the parents’ house thing. It’s not cause you don’t love them. It’s not cause you don’t need them. It is because for your emotional and psychological health, you need that independence.
7. Know How To Set Boundaries. Physical, Emotional, And Professional.
Set boundaries at work. This is what you are willing to do, this is what you are not. This is what you are willing to allow other men to say to you, this is what you are not. This is time for work. This is time for friends. This is time for yourself.
Also, don’t allow yourself to be talked down to. Learn the phrase, “Wait just one minute.” This is a great opening phrase to show someone they crossed a boundary you set for yourself. Another great phrase: “I don’t want to be talked to like that.” This is my new favorite phrases in customer service and yes, I use it regularly.
8. Know How To Be A Lady
I heard a quote this week that said, “If more women stood up for being Ladies, more men would stand up for being Gentlemen.” Or something like that. The saying goes the other way as well. Be classy, even if it doesn’t seem popular. Stand up for what you believe. Comments that turn you into an object should not be OK or tolerated. Speak up. You are strong, confident, beautiful, and by golly, YOU LOVE WHAT YOU LOVE. Some guys like to think that if only girls would like guns, war-movies, rock-climbing, and Family Guy, then they would be perfect. The thing is, if every girl loved all those things, we wouldn’t be girls. We would be men. And I promise, they don’t want that. The guys you want to be with will appreciate the things that make you a woman. You are worth waiting for.
9. Invest In At Least 3 Complete Outfits That Make You Feel Crazy Beautiful
Need I say more? It’s worth it. And you will need one of them the day after you ate a pan of cookies after work.
10. Know That You Are Worth It.
If you are not married, GOOD. In the South, we are constantly under a social expectation that when we graduate from college, then duh, the next step is to get married. If you did, great. I am genuinely happy for you. If you haven’t found him yet, FANTASTIC. You have been given an incredible opportunity to find things that make you YOU. Invest in girl friendships, watch chick-flicks whenever the heck you want, explore random hobbies cause you can. Craft, cook, run, write, travel, spend time with family, go on dates, develop crushes, buy a poster of Zac Efron, get your nails done, mentor younger girls. HAVE FUN and enjoy this time. All the while remembering, you are worth waiting for. I know I said this earlier, but it is the most important thing. You might even need to write that on your bathroom mirror. Remember the things that make you awesome and wait for a guy who notices those things too.
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