How Did You Get Over The Hump In Your First Job?

When I started my first full-time job after college, I was really tired. I wasn’t used to waking up at 6:30am, I wasn’t used to sitting in hour-long meetings about sales reports that didn’t affect me, and I wasn’t used to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day just staring at a computer screen.

Physically and mentally, it look a lot of getting used to.

A college friend of mine started at the same company a few months after, and we had a running joke. Every day, he’d come in and I’d count down the days until retirement. We were 22 years old, so we assumed 40 years of working 250 days a year. That comes out to 10,000 days of work. I think I got to about 9,990 before it got too depressing to think about each day. We were going to be working for 10,000 days and it wasn’t getting any easier.

10,000 days of work is a LOT of time. It’s hard to think about going into an office that many times in a row, and when you think that the every day will be the same, it does not seem worth it. Some of us have jobs that present new challenges with each day, and I think that’s a really important part of a good job, possibly more important than some other perks, including salary.

On the other hand, I wasn’t so excited about working when I first started, which actually let me to create this site in my spare time. I was bored and not given much to do for the first 6 months, but I wanted something to do that would stimulate me.

I wanted something I created myself and I think I had some daydreams about this becoming something real and viable, so much so that I’d be able to be my own boss full time. I had no idea what I was talking about back then, but dreaming is always fun.

You can do a lot with 6 months. And I did, I start writing, I wrote posts during meetings that I had to attend but wasn’t actively participating in, and by the time I was given real work that took up a larger portion of my day, my site was set to run with much less active monitoring.

Physically, it took me about 3 months to get used to waking up and sitting in meetings regularly. I tried taking short walks every few hours to get my blood moving and I modified my diet to give me more energy through out the day.

Mentally, I got my mind away from thinking about how miserable working for 40 years would be by starting a passion project on the side. If you’ve ever had an idea that you couldn’t wait to get started on, you know what I’m talking about.

As it turns out, I’m much happier at my current position because of the responsibilities I have and the type of work I do. Combine that with my side projects that I’m passionate about, and the next 37 years don’t look so daunting anymore.

13 Responses to How Did You Get Over The Hump In Your First Job?

  1. Ira says:

    37 years? Meaning you’ll retire at 62? Although I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be around to collect, I’d be willing to bet that you won’t want to retire so early. By then you’ll have a very interesting job, which you’ll enjoy, and won’t want to be idle so much. As someone very close to 62, trust me on that…

  2. Leslie says:

    Interesting! I had the opposite experience. I didn’t need to be to work until 9a so I could wake up later. During college I worked before class and would get there by 8a. I was already used to going from work to class to work to class all day so the full-day schedule wasn’t too different.

    I was actually excited to be working instead of in college because I found myself with so much free time! Instead of working/class all day then doing homework/reading all evening, I was free from 6p on! I was so excited about my free evenings that I went out and bought a gamecube as a graduation present to myself.

    • Daniel says:

      @Leslie, interesting! I did learn to value my time a lot more. At 5pm I was free for 7 hours to do whatever I wanted. But I still liked the college lifestyle!

    • eemusings says:

      @Leslie, Same – I worked multiple jobs while studying so going down to one full time job, 8 hours a day, was a breeze! I had SO much free time in comparison.

  3. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says:

    It took me nearly a month not to feel sick in the mornings from waking up so early. I was a 9am sort of riser, and the 6am alarm was not nice to me…

    I made it through the hump by doing my budget stuff anytime I had free time. 5 years later, I started blogging during that free time. Now, 8 years after I graduated, I am enjoying self-employment and am finally not fixated on our exact retirement date…

    • Daniel says:

      @Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter, Yup, I’ve completely stopped thinking about the end of work and instead focus on the work that I’m doing. It’s very refreshing!

      Any tips for how young people can get used to huge adjustment?

  4. I get up at 545 now which is still early after almost a year at this job. I love getting out at 4 though…

    Sometimes it is hard to sit through meetings and such but that is just part of the job… oh well!

  5. Wow, this post brought back some memories. I also started a side project that I was passionate about while stuck in a cubicle. 12 years later it has grown into a full time job (yes, my website!) and I love every day I get to go to work.

  6. I love the idea of a passion project. I have been feeling the drudgery in my day job lately, and that sounds like something that could help.

  7. Fred@Foxy Finance says:

    When I started work and realised I was working on someone else’s agenda, it really fired me up to not let that be the case for very long. When you earn $150 a day and your boss nets over $100’000 it’s hard to want to work for him anymore. I have however since moved on and am not on his level yet but it’s not impossible!

  8. As an early career hourly paid consultant, I heard of a great insight which changed my business path. This valuable lesson was about “selling yourself an hour every day”, the same as I am “selling” my consulting hours to my clients, once a day I “hired” myself for an hour. In that hour I focus only on my other passions and businesses, an hour a day may not seems a lot but if you do it for 10 years, you get over 3,600 hours. I set it every day as my first hour of the day (6 am – 7 am), eventually this hour planted the seed for many of my ventures.

  9. I’m in that transition period right now!!! The first three months of work were terrible, I would go home and just collapse on the couch and do nothing for hours.
    I’m at the six month mark, and though it’s better, I’m still super tired at the end of the day. WORK DRAINS ME!!!
    I started my blog in graduate school and have documenting my journey from school to full time job. My next goal is to take it self hosted, I should have started self hosted, but I didn’t.

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