12 Tips to Survive Your First Day at Work

It’s official: I’m a real adult now. 

Aka I survived my first day at my big girl job.

It was stressful for sure. But also super exciting and kind of exhilarating. Of course I hit some bumps along the way (as I’m sure everyone does…right?), so I thought of some tips I learned on my first day to help you on yours! Welcome to the real world.

Pack a lunch

Sure there’s a Chipotle only 0.67 miles from your office (not like you checked…) but that first day, you don’t know how long you’ll have for lunch or what your company’s policy is about eating out. So be safe, make a PB&J and proudly rock that brown paper bag.

Wear comfortable shoes commuting & change at the office

I learned this the hard way… I don’t care how cute those flats are, they’re going to give you blisters in the 10 minute walk between getting off the train and into your office. Then you’ll be cringing in pain/begging any of your new co workers for band aids. Instead, wear flip flops or comfy shoes while you commute/walk to the office and the change into your flats/heels once you get there. That way you also have another option when your feet are absolutely killing you at the end of the day.

Ask where the bathroom is

And the supply closet. And the kitchen. And your desk. Better to ask the secretary/office manager than wander around like an idiot.

Bring a notebook

Sure you can scribble down every detail about how to set up your phone on a tiny post-it note OR you can look professional AF and show up with a notebook, ready to work.

Make friends with the IT department

More likely than not, you’re going to meet with IT to get your email, phone, etc. set up on the first day. Ask them how they’re doing. How long have they been there? Do they have kids? Make small talk because they’ll be the people who will save your life when your computer crashes at 4:49 pm and your report is due at 5.

Keep your morning routine

If you usually have coffee in the morning, see if they have a coffee maker in the office or grab some Starbucks before you get in. Usually have a snack around 11 am? Grab something small from your packed lunch and munch on it at your desk. Of course you’ll develop a new work morning routine, but incorporating little things you usually do can help you feel more at home.

Do some research & read up

On my first day, one of my supervisors told me where the shared drive was on my computer and suggested I look through it. There were A LOT of folders. However, actually reading the majority of them gave me an idea of the projects my team was working on, the company’s organization system and the format of its files/reports. Ask if you have access to what your team is working on. Or start Googling your company & stalk it on LinkedIn. You’ll feel a little more in the loop of what’s actually going on.

Change your computer’s background

If you’re allowed to, change your computer’s background from the boring default screen to tasteful and office appropriate picture. Start making it feel like YOUR desk instead of just a random place you sit for 8 hours.

Walk around

Seriously. Don’t just be chained to your desk all day. You’re going to get antsy and stiff and no one expects you to stay stationary the whole day. Go take a walk. Say hi to people. You’ll feel better after you take a stroll.

Start organizing your inbox

The real world comes with a lot of emails. Like more than you can ever fathom. You look away for 2 minutes and suddenly your inbox is full again. That being said, start organizing your inbox so in three weeks you don’t have 467 unread messages that you should have read, well, yesterday. Even if you don’t really know how to organize your folders or what to delete, just do something. You can always reorganize or categorize once you have more of an idea what you’re doing but at least you’ll feel somewhat productive.

Stay until at least 5:15pm

Or just watch to see what people do at the end of the day. Does everyone shut down exactly at 5pm? Or do most people linger until 5:30/6? You don’t want to be that newbie that peaces out at 4:59 when people stay for another hour.

Be patient

The first day may be weird, exciting, scary, stressful, overwhelming and awesome all at the same time. But you’ll get it. Just hang in there and know that everyone started where you are. And one day you’ll look back and remember how clueless you were and be thankful because you finally figured it out.

You’ve got this. Go rock the real world.

Coffee & Heels: Welcome to the Real World

I woke up in a really sh*tty mood.

As I laid in bed, I mentally made a to-do list of all the things I wasn’t looking forward to: work 8+ hours baristaing, call the credit card company, figure out why the check engine light was on in my car again.

Washing my face and throwing up my hair didn’t improve my mood so I put on some Jason Mraz to try and kickstart my day. As I finished putting on my mascara, I glanced down at my phone and saw an email with the words Job Offer in my notifications.

Dropping my mascara wand, I opened the email and started immediately calling for my dad. As I stood at the top of the stairs and said the words, “I got the job,” tears instantly flooded my eyes in an overwhelming wave of happiness (and sufficiently ruined the mascara I had just applied).

So it looks like I’m officially entering the real world.

Job searching is like an emotional roller coaster. Actually getting a job and realizing, “oh wow, I’m going to be a real adult now” is like riding another equally terrifying and exciting roller coaster. So I’ve decided to write about it in my newest section, Coffee & Heels! Here you’ll find my adventures as I navigate what it’s like becoming an adult, plus any tips I learn along the way. It’s going to be messy. It’s going to be fun. And it’ll sure be one hell of an adventure.

Welcome to the real world, y’all. I hope your coffee is strong and your heels are comfortable because it’s going to be a wild ride.

Day 45 & I’m Still Single*

*Job single that is.

Once my PR mentor, Dana, said, “You know, finding a job is like finding boyfriend. It’s all about timing and chemistry.” And I was like okay, yea Dana, cute metaphor, now mentor me on how to get a job. (Full disclosure: I love Dana, and she has helped me immensely through the job search, even with her cheesy metaphors).

But it turns out Dana was right. Although there seems to be some discrepancy between my actual love life and my professional endeavors,  finding a job is kind of like finding a boyfriend. Here’s how.

You agonize over your first impression & fall hard. 

Maybe you met online via LinkedIn (connecting is the new right swipe). Or maybe you crossed paths at a career fair (that you changed outfits for six times). Regardless, you replay that first meeting over and over again until you’ve thoroughly analyzed what they meant by “we’re always looking for new people” and criticized yourself for not shaking their hand for the third time. You get butterflies every time their company pops up on Facebook, and you’ve stalked their Twitter account more than you’d like to admit. You spend your days reading over their website and daydreaming what it would be like to work there. Now it’s time to build up the nerve to actually talk to them.

Updating your resume/cover letter essentially is drafting a text to a crush. 

Comma or period? I don’t want to sound too excited but also not unenthused about their company either. Does Arial make me seem basic? I don’t want to be basic basic, but I don’t want to be over the top either. Just basic enough so they don’t think I’m trying too hard. Maybe I should stick to Times New Roman. Serious. Sophisticated. And then the italics in my experience section will make me seem ~fun and carefree. And who the hell do I address the cover letter to? How do I start? Hi? To whom it may concern? No, they hate that sh*t, I know they hate it. Ugh, this is too hard. Really, I just need a way to say “PLEASE JUST HIRE ME, I WANT YOU SO BAD” without sounding desperate.

Sometimes experience is important for work (relationships).



There are some employers in this world that are looking for serious employees. And with a serious employee, they want them to have experience. Experience with different jobs. Experience with different people and bosses. They want to enter into a contract with someone who knows what they’re doing with this kind of thing.

On the other hand, other people are looking for a casual fling that has the potential to turn into something serious. We’re all having fun here right? So little to no experience needed. Who cares if you’ve never had a real job before? Let’s just see where it goes, and we can define it later.

Maybe they’re just not that into you. 

You’re playing that job field like a boss, but sometimes you just meet people who just aren’t that into you. You’ve pulled out all the stops to impress them: multiple emails, hand-written thank you notes, an endorsement on LinkedIn. But they never call you back. You would rather them just tell you “It’s not me, it’s you,” but instead you’re sitting by the phone just hoping they call. Do yourself a favor and quit while you’re ahead.

Employers play hard-to-get too. 

All’s fair in love and war…and employment. And boy, do employers know how to play the game. They start off coy with “we’re considering a lot of applicants” or get your hopes up with the promise of calling next week. And then suddenly it’s three weeks later, they’re no longer hiring until one day they email you and say you might have the job… if you just complete an edit test/phone interview/re-design their comprehensive multimedia plan. And then it’s another two weeks until you hear from them, and you reach out again and they give you a nonchalant, “we’re still considering a lot of applicants, but we’ll be in touch.” You know what they’re doing, and you hate that it’s working, but you keep going back for more. As the saying goes, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” but really we just end up hating all the players and the game of unemployment.

Rejection & heartbreak feel the same. 

“Unfortunately, we cannot offer a position to you at this time, but we really do appreciate your application and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.” Maybe you’ve invested weeks (or months), regardless, a job rejection stings all the same. It doesn’t matter if it was a mutual parting of ways (maybe you realized they weren’t what you wanted after all) or how nicely they let you down (I don’t appreciate how you appreciate my application, thank you very much), it still sucks. Just remember, time (and another sexy job description) heals all wounds.

There are a lot of fish in the sea (or jobs in the city), but you only need one to say yes. 

You only need to impress one employer. You only need one person to see how great you are. You only need one person to say, “Yes, we want you back.” And when that happens, all the chasing opportunities and LinkedIn late nights and resume revampings will all be worth it. Because you’ve finally found what dreams are made of: stable, full-time employment.

Good luck out there, y’all. I hope you find your soulmates soon.