Are You There Job? It’s me, Amanda: From Classroom to Cubicle

Posted on June 29, 2011


My younger sister just graduated from college with her bachelor’s degree about a month ago and has since transitioned into a job working as an entries assistant. Obviously this is not the job she went to college for, and if this is still a shocking or disappointing thought to you, please be sure to read this pronto.

While she highly enjoys her new position, the transition from classroom to cubicle has been difficult and she’s learned a lot about the office environment quickly.

And please keep in mind I learned all of this the hard way.

  • Get rid of the multi-colored polka-dot messenger bag. It was a tough decision but I realized that walking in each morning with my girlie/childish messenger bag and hot pink cell phone probably didn’t build confidence in the people considering giving me a promotion.
  • Trade in the high, messy pony tail or Justin Bieber do for a nice haircut. Unfortunately the business world doesn’t care that you spent 45 minutes straightening and parting your hair for the perfect Beiber look, it simply looks unprofessional, but not as unprofessional as the on top of the head messy bun “style”.
  • Think about the way you interact with your co-workers.  If you watched the MTV Music Awards that’s great, but remember that might not be the best conversation piece for the water cooler if you’re the youngest person in your office by a solid 20 years. Also, religion and politics are a no-no.
  • Just because it’s in style doesn’t mean its office appropriate. I’ve worked in places that have scrutinized the length of my sleeves, and thongyness (flip-flops were prohibited) of my sandals. Trust me, I’ve had many talks with employees about “inappropriate dress” and if this blog prevents even one of those talks it will all be worth it.
  • Present yourself responsibly. Inevitably while you’re at work an inappropriate topic will come up. Those are the times when you can define yourself. Change the subject, leave the room, whatever you do, don’t join in. I know it’s tempting but you’ll be labeled as immature and a troublemaker.

The good news is that doing all of these things will help your coworkers and bosses see what a responsible young adult you are. The bad news is that no matter how old you dress or what kind of hair style you have they are going to make comments such as “You’re probably too young to even remember that!” Those types of comments used to drive me nuts, but just remember that it’s a good thing you’re young and eventually (sooner than you think) you’ll be the one making the comments.

Around May of 2010 after a dramatic rise in the ranks at her previous company Amanda realized that although she was good at her job, it wasn’t necessarily a good fit. Scoffing at the safety net her job provided, she quit in November 2010 and moved to North Carolina to chase her dream in the Tar Heel State. That was when the cold hand of reality slapped her across the face and she came to the realize just how little she knew about finding a fulfilling career. Armed with nothing more than a bad resume and the internet, Amanda tackled every resource she could get her hands on to wrangle her career search into submission. She’s not there yet, but everyday is closer than the day before. 

Connect with Amanda:  Blog   |  Twitter  |   Facebook  |   LinkedIn  |   Brazen Careerist   |