My First Job
In August this year I started my first full-time job. Previously being a student, I had only ever had casual employment. These jobs had ranged from silver service waiter at the Millenium Stadium to being a runner on TV shows. Needless to say entering the real world after graduating and starting my first real job was both exhilarating and slightly scary. This post explores my adaptation to working life.
The Job Itself
I was offered the work in August by a lecturer at Cardiff University (the university I graduated from). The work was in the school of Journalism Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC). I was fortunate that I had a good reputation in the school and someone had recommended me for the work. It’s a satisfying feeling to know your hard work and subsequent reputation is appreciated by those around you. So I would be returning to my old stomping ground, to which I had only said “Goodbye” to a few months earlier. I must admit, I had my anxieties about returning. In football, professionals often say regarding players going back to an old club, ‘Never Return’. I was mindful of this saying.
I won’t bore you with too much detail of the actual work but here is a summary. The work was part of the “Creative Citizens” project, whose partners included Ofcom and The Art Humanities Research Council. The part I would be working on was just 1 part of a particular strand of the project. For our part, we were examining what is called “Hyperlocal Journalism”. These are site online news and community websites run by ordinary citizens for generally non-commercial purposes. They ranged in size and significance. Some are completely independent and set up on various blogging platforms. Others are franchised from mainstream news media. Our job was to conduct a content analysis study of their content over a 10 day period in May 2012. We would be examining aspects such Source Usage, Quotation, Advertising, Story Subject…In essence the point of this research was to examine the quality of the outlets and then, subsequently, somewhere along the line use this data to help improve these websites. So my job was to do this coding. I read and analysed over 1000 articles and input them into SPSS to be analysed. I had the joy of using Google Hangouts within my work to liaise with colleagues in Birmingham on the project.
Adapting To Work Life
Working 9-5 everyday would be an adjustment for me. After 3 years of being a student with a relatively lax timetable I hadn’t been required to work that long consecutively since high school. Getting up every morning wasn’t as big of a struggle as I thought. I think the fact I found the work interesting helped a great deal with this. Going back to where I previously studied presented me with a unique scenario. My lecturers were now my colleagues. The staff only areas were now open to me. This brought me to the significant moment where I was able to cross the velvet rope. Yes that’s right my university office has a velvet rope like a club. When I was first shown in there, to use the photocopier I automatically, out of habit, stopped at the rope. I was ushered through though – a small but momentous occasion for me. Along with the more obvious adaptations in working life, I had to deal with other aspects like dealing with pay problems. Fortunately, I’ve always been quite good at writing formally about things so I was able to resolve problems relatively easy. Then of course I had to balance out work and social life. I felt very grown up arranging to meet people for lunch dates. But managing evenings and weekends was more difficult. By the time I would get home it would be 6 o clock, having to go to bed around 11. That’s only 5 hours, less once you cook and do any errands. I am now more appreciative of what my parents had to do working full-time and raising 2 children. In the evenings, therefore, I played football, went on dates, visited my nan in hospital or stayed at home watching tv. I never went drinking or on a night out. That’s not my style. I’ve never understood how people can go on nights out till 3am then go to work the next day. I’m not a massive fan of nights out in general anyway. But even doing the simple things made a difference to work. Doing too much makes work more difficult the next day. It’s a fine balance. Likewise, managing relationships while working. The amount of texts and messages I got throughout the day while working was unprecedented for me. Even more so, people getting annoyed by the fact you didn’t reply as you were in work. The phrase ‘ you only have so many hours in the day’ is very true.
In general I quite enjoyed office life. There is something quite satisfying about having your own desk and office. Likewise, being a man of science and structure I enjoyed having a regular office routine. I was fortunate, as well, that I was just left to get on with my job. No one hovering over you to make sure you’re doing everything or clocking you in and out for lunch. This kind of trust and freedom made me very comfortable and as a result I was more productive. Importantly, by giving me this independence I did not take advantage of it. In fact, it made more respectful. I always made sure I never went over my hour allotted for lunch and more often than not I only took half hour.
Everyone agrees these days that ‘networking’ is an important aspect in your career and more often than not its how you get jobs. In fact networking got me my second job. I was knew to this aspect of life. I’d never been someone who particularly social skills and could just chat and make friends with everyone. I’ve always admired that aspect about some of my friends and my older brother. They’re the type of people who just ‘get on’ with people naturally. Being aware of my deficiency in this area I made a conscious effort to chat to colleagues and attend networking events. Networking events are odd occasions. I’ve attended 2 so far, one by BBC and the other Channel 4. The key to these events is making the most of the time you had. It’s one of few times in life where you can just go up to people who are important in your industry and talk to them and get advice. More importantly than that is to talk with others like you, these people could be your future colleagues one day. In day-to-day office life I started conversations with colleagues. It surprised me how easy it came to me. What I found really refreshing was talking to people about interesting topics, people who enjoyed and loved their work. I’m happy to say that I have not only made some useful contacts through networking but some friends as well.
- New research reveals job satisfaction is determined by our work colleagues (prweb.com)
- Blurring the lines between work and life (themarlincompany.com)
- Work/Life Balance: A 2-Way Street? (themarlincompany.com)